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So Cry the Abused Mother and Child

So Cry the Abused Mother and Child

Poetry on Violence Against Woman and Children, illustrated by Namibian secondary-school students
Haakskeen, Petrus
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So Cry the Abused Mother and Child

Subtitle: Poetry on Violence Against Women and Children
Author: Petrus Haakskeen
Publisher: Legal Assistance Centre
Windhoek, June 2003
Soft cover, 15x21 cm, 56 pages, several colour illustrations


Forword by Dianne Hubbarc:

Petrus Haakskeen is a Namibian playwright and poet who lives and works in Windhoek.

He was born on the 2nd of January 1967 in Maltahohe where he grew up with his grandmother, Sanna Haakskeen.

He attended Daweb Junior Secondary School in Maltahohe and matriculated from Jan Jonker High School, Windhoek, in 1986.

In April 1987 Petrus was involved in a traumatic car accident while travelling down south to visit his grandmother.

The injuries that he sustained left him severely disabled and confined to a wheel chair, without any feeling in his body from the neck down.

As a disabled person, Petrus has experienced dependence and vulnerability, as well as violations of his rights.

This has inspired him to write poetry about the violence that is perpetrated against people in society who are least able to defend themselves - women and children.

Petrus believes that, through his poetry, he can make a contribution to the creation of a safer and more compassionate society for Namibia.

It may seem odd to see the logo of the Legal Assistance Centre on a book of poetry and art. You may wonder how this relates to law. Why are we publishing this book? Our mission at the Legal Assistance Centre is the following:

The Legal Assistance Centre, being a public interest law centre, strives to make the law accessible to those with the least access, through education, law reform, research, litigation, legal advice, representation and lobbying, with the ultimate aim of creating and maintaining a human rights culture in Namibia. Domestic violence is one of Namibia's most widespread and pressing human rights issues.

The Combating of Domestic Violence Act has just been passed by Parliament, but it will take more than a new law to prevent this form of violence in Namibia. As part of our overall efforts to develop a human rights culture in Namibia, the Legal Assistance Centre has utilised various forms of media, including art, video and radio productions. Creating a culture of non-violence similarly needs to involve a range of approaches, if we are to reach peoples' hearts as well as their heads.

These poems, written by local author Petrus Haakskeen, powerfully depict the violence perpetrated against women and children in Namibia. They bring home to us the vulnerability of the victims and the resulting destruction of society. We are convinced that these poems deserve a broader audience. Related themes in the Namibian context such as religion and HIV/AIDS come into the poems in much the same way that they affect the lives of all who live here.

The work is a compelling expression of empathy for those who suffer from violence, and we hope that Petrus's words will inspire similar empathy in others. Because the youth of Namibia are one of our major target groups for purposes of changing attitudes about violence, we decided to involve senior secondary schoolchildren in creating the illustrations for this book.

Schools were selected on the basis of interest and geographic diversity, with an emphasis on previously-disadvantaged schools. Workshops were held at Daweb Junior Secondary School, Maltahöhe; Otjikoto Seniol Secondary School, Tsumeb and Hage G. Geingob Secondary School, Windhoek. These workshops combined an intense discussion of domestic violence and possible solutions to the problem with instruction on basic art techniques, thereby involving the students in an active and creative exploration of the topic. The students were encouraged to depict solutions to domestic violence rather than acts of violence, and they rose enthusiastically to this challenge.

All of the artwork was exhibited at the launch of the book in June 2003, and a selection of the work has been included in the book. The book will be distributed free of charge to all Namibian secondary schools for their libraries, as well as to interested organisations. It will be sold to the public at cost price, with the income to be used to func additional print runs if needed. We hope that the poetry will point to the need for change, while th( artwork will suggest ideas for positive action. We hope that you will fine the book eye-opening and inspiring.

Dianne Hubbarc
Gender Research & Advocacy Project
Legal Assistance Centre, June 2002


An example poem:

The children are screaming
loudly
Mama is bleeding severely
Papa got mad heavily
Chaos ruins the household
Peace and tranquillity
Left the homestead long ago
A fever of fear, fight, fury and
misery
Now is the order in the house
Children no more enjoy
playing
They only wait frightenedly
praying
The arrival of dad and mom
To resume the fight for might
Slowly the family union-binder
Starts to scramble and scatter
Kids going out of order
Dad and Mom on the edge of
divorce
At last the family breaks down
Mom and kids move down
town
Dad now alone at home
withdrawn
Resorts to alcohol and drugs
To cover up guilt and regret
Mom later loses control
Of kids who are out on streets
in stroll
To lead a life
Of fun and funeral
The loss of families
Results in the loss of communities,
The loss of communities
The loss of the nations,
The loss of nations
The loss of mankind
Stop domestic violence
To save the families
To save the communities
To save the nations
To save mankind
GREAT LORD, STOP THE VIOLENCE IN THAT HOUSE


Content:

- Foreword
- Domestic Violence
- Suffer the Children
- We Hear, We Read, We See
- The Noise of Terror
- They Are Our Mothers
- Brutal Wrath of a Man
- His-story vs Her-story
- In the Mind of an Abandoned Street Kid
- Leave Her Alone
- Cry, the African Child
- Thanks to Women
- Save the Children
- Act of Rape
- Tomorrow's Plan of an Alcoholic Husband
- The Kids on the Streets
- Forsaken by her Son
- Warning to a Teenage Girl
- Proud to be a Father
- The Fallen Girl
- Product of No Hope-
- Power of Educated Women
- Meme Africa
- The Fall ofMutagos
- Drawing captions
- List of workshop participants