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Men Who Are Violent Against Women Don’t Deserve Sympathy

Men Who Are Violent Against Women Don’t Deserve Sympathy
Minister for Women, Children, and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa
January 29
12:02 2018

Mereseini Vuniwaqa says men who physically or psychologically abuse women, whether they are their wives, partners or friends, don’t deserve sympathy.

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation made the statement in response to a lawyer’s brave action in saving a woman from an abusive and violent ex-partner.

Sabrina Iqbal Khan has been hailed a hero for her bravery by many who responded online.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said “domestic violence is an abhorrence to society and Fiji could no longer afford to let its women suffer in silence ”.

Ms Vuniwaqa said this was a matter of shame and disgrace because it was reported in such high numbers in Fiji.

“Our action is well overdue to battle this life threatening problem,” she said.

Ms Vuniwaqa said that she read Ms  Khan’s story in Saturday’s Fiji Sun and it cames as a shock.

She also said that she felt sorry for the victim because she was injured during the incident.

She said Fijians, who engage in this disgraceful act oblivious of the increasing public turmoil against violence against women, must wake up and be alert on the law.

“Violence against women is serious and has devastating effects on the lives of women, children and families, which more often than not ends in fatality,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

She stressed that there must be hundreds of cases of violence against women and girls that may be still unreported as the victims continue to suffer in silence; sometimes women survivors choose to remain silent because they fear stigmatisation and shame within their homes and communities.

Ms Vuniwaqa applauds Ms Sabrina Iqbal Khan for her bravery which may have saved the life of the victim and she encouraged all Fijians to learn from Ms Khan.

She also acknowledged the Fiji Police Force for its quick response to the incident.

She encouraged the people of Fiji to contact the toll free helpline number 1560 if they are victims of violence or to get urgent assistance to victims of violence.

Ms Vuniwaqa said domestic violence had been a manifestation of the deep rooted nuances of gender inequality and gender stereotyping which still exists particularly in social settings – in homes and in Fijian communities.

“It requires us to call it out when we see it happen because domestic violence thrives in a culture of silence,” Ms Vuniwaqa said

“It requires us as Fijians to stop minding our own business, but human rights is everybody’s business.

“The Fijian Government has done a lot to combat this social ill over the years – from the making of a specific Domestic Violence Act to setting the foundation for a strong legal response to a toll free domestic violence line – 1560.”

She said the toll free line has enabled victims of violence and witnesses to domestic violence an immediate reporting mechanism.

“NGOs have also done a lot in advocacy and training in these regards.

“Our national answer to domestic violence needs to be consistent across all stakeholders, it needs to be loud and unequivocally clear that we as a nation have no place for violence within our homes – a form of violence which perpetuates itself on false assumptions of the superiority of a gender.”

Ali speaks out

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) co-ordinator Shamima Ali has called on the  public to rise up and not be by-standers of domestic violence.

Ms Ali said domestic violence was a crime and it was about a woman’s life.

She said she also saw in the news media how neighbours stood yelling from outside when a man attacked his wife with a knife.

“We should stop being by-standers, intervention is so necessary it can save a woman’s life.”

Ms Ali said “what often happens is people become spectators and as soon as someone says ‘oh! That’s the wife, then everybody says it’s a private affair and no one’s business.

“But, it’s a crime and about the life of a woman, no matter what if we are neighbours and hear arguments going on, we must give support to the woman,” Ms Ali said.

She said people should use the national help line 1560 to report cases.

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedback:  losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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