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Serua Provincial Council Hears Rape Concerns

Serua Provincial Council Hears Rape Concerns
(Third from left)Serua districts representative, Apimeleki Bosoka during the Serua Provincial Meeting in Navua on December 5, 2018. Photo: WATI TALEBULA
December 06
10:48 2018

 Rape is a topic of concern and should be discussed at provincial meetings, says Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Naipote Katonitabua.

Mr Katonitabua was speaking during the Serua Provincial Council meeting at Navua yesterday.

“On radio this week you must have heard about the 20 cases of rape for the month of November alone and this was released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The perpetrators are those who should have been protecting the victim,” Mr Katonitabua said.

“One example is where a 59-year- old grandfather raped his seven- year-old granddaughter. This is what has been happening in Fiji and this should encourage the participants here today to discuss this issue.

“This is not a small issue anymore in Fiji. There is a programme by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs for the children to ensure their protection. The UNICEF has also visited provinces in regards to this.”

Mr Katonitabua said it was a concern that people were accepting behaviour foreign to traditional ways easily.

“The overuse of mobile phones and Facebook is using up the time that can be spent on family meetings, district meetings, village meetings and provincial meetings,” Mr Katonitabua said.

“At times there is no time for family because it is spent on other things that are not important.

“There are some important issues that should be discussed with the family. We must ensure that our women and children are protected. We must accept our children when they are released from prison.

“Parents must ensure that their children go to school and should always encourage them to study.”

Serua Provincial Council chairman Taito Nakalevu said an increase in cases of rape was quite alarming in Fiji.

“Now we are systematically collecting the data then we realise that it is quite alarming for everyone, particularly a lot of the perpetrators who are actually within the household. So, it is terrifying and concerning when we think of it.

“There is no point trying to build up all this development programmes and initiatives if we do not help educate our children to be better citizens of tomorrow. We cannot really pinpoint a particular behaviour and say this is a root cause because there are a lot of factors that contribute to this. There a lot of contributing factors.”

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali said the issue needed to be eliminated once and for all.

“Rape is a heinous crime committed regularly and mostly on women, girls and children. So everyone should be concerned. We all need to make a concerted effort to eliminate this and other forms of gender based violence,” Ms Ali said.

“To do this we all need to talk together and ensure we are on the same page, meaning we look at the evidence available globally and what is the most effective practice to eliminate rape. We must recognise this as a gross violation of women human rights and strategies and programmes must be rights based.

“We have to stop victim blaming and protecting perpetrators. Stop blaming women’s dress behaviour and look at the rapist and address a society that continues to make excuses for rapists.

“If we are not willing to learn about the issue then we cannot respond effectively.

“Remember babies get raped, people with disabilities get raped, young and older women get raped, and many get raped in their own homes by men entrusted with their protection,” Ms Ali said.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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