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Breaking the silence surrounding rape : with special reference to the pastoral care and counselling among the Damara people living in Khorixas.

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Many women today, irrespective of their colour, race, age or religion, are being raped and some brutally killed by their rapists. The rape crisis increases daily and that shows that women are not even safe in their homes because they live in fear of their lives everyday. In this research paper I will try to examine the issues surrounding rape that contribute to the increasing of this crisis of the women living in Khorixas. There are sociological, economic, psychological and cultural issues that contribute to the rape crisis. The social issues that contribute to the rape of women contributed to the fact that most men abuse alcohol, some of the men are unemployed, and most of the people live in poverty. The economic condition of women is weaker than that of men. Most are unemployed and those who are working are domestic workers who earn a salary wage below the poverty line, and are, therefore, economically dependent on their husbands and boyfriends. Some of the men who live in Khorixas experience psychological problems such as hatred, desolation, loneliness and aggression. These psychological problems contribute to the fact that the rapists can closely identify sex with violence. In most cases, men show their masculinity by raping women. In the Damara culture the man is the head of the family. The woman is a submissive wife who is to take care of the children. Traditional women are unable to attack the power of the customs, therefore, the men keep them in an inferior and subordinate position. That is why the women are not speaking out against the rape that is committed. The purpose of my research is to try and address this rape crisis among the Damara women living in Khorixas. The research is pastoral and it is a challenge to the ELCRN to serve the vulnerable women who are the survivors of rape. The church can launch awareness programmes and also educate its members in moral sexual behaviour. Through pastoral care and counselling the pastor can assist the rape survivor to regain her dignity. Furthermore, the pastor can use the ABCD method of counselling to build up a relationship of trust between him or her and the rape survivor so that the survivor can feel comfortable in telling her story or the experiences of her rape. A further purpose of this research paper is to advise women to seek help and to speak out against rape and not to be silent on this issue. The central focus of this study lies in chapters four, five and six. Chapter four explores what the church can do about the crisis and the responsibility of ELCRN towards its members with regards to the moral sexual behaviour of members. Chapter five discusses the prevention necessary and the precaution any methods women need and the necessity of rape survivors understanding rape as a crime and reporting it to the police. Chapter six explores and validates the use of the ABCD method of crisis counselling by the counsellor to support the rape survivor in coping with the crisis.


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2002.


Rape--Religious aspects--Christianity., Church work with women--Namibia., Women--Pastoral counselling of., Rape--Psychological aspects., Theses--Theology.