Stop Sex Crimes – Where Do We Start?

This is an edited version of the Nemani Delaibatiki’s editorial comment on the My Say programme on FBC Television last night.   The brutal sexual attack on a nine-year-old girl
13 Jul 2015 11:29
Stop Sex Crimes – Where Do We Start?

This is an edited version of the Nemani Delaibatiki’s editorial comment on the My Say programme on FBC Television last night.


The brutal sexual attack on a nine-year-old girl in Nakasi is the latest in the rapidly growing list of sexual offences in the country.

In Parliament last week, the question was asked about why these offences are being committed. What is causing this evil to inflict harm and pain on families and communities?

Some suggest the solution to solve this problem is harsher penalties. Others say we should beef up the Police force to increase its visibility. These two ideas, they argue, will deter would-be offenders from committing sexual crimes. They will help in reducing incidents but they do not address the root of the problem.

Timoci Natuva, the Minister for Immigration, National Security and Defence, suggests churches and community groups should help in teaching their people that criminal acts are not right.

That statement can be extended to families. This is a collective responsibility and everyone is a stakeholder here.

The gravity and seriousness of these sexual offences are a major concern. Cases of incest continue to come before the courts. Rapes committed by relatives against minors also appear to be on the increase.

The public uproar over the attack on the Nakasi girl proves that people find these offences appalling and unacceptable. That an innocent nine-year-old girl going home from school is grabbed allegedly by two men, dragged several metres and brutally raped in bushes in a quiet neighbourhood, is horrifying and the worst nightmare of any parent.

This crime and others of similar nature are increasingly becoming common. They constitute a symptom that highlights a gradual decay in our moral values and standards – values that have stood the test of time through the ages. We must arrest this decline and nip it in the bud as the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said.

Where do we start? I think we start at home in the family where these strong values are taught and reinforced to a point that they become second nature and a way of life. These religious and cultural values determine our lifestyles. The sanctity of life, respect for women, girls and children are some of these values. Sadly, these values are seriously under threat by competing values portrayed in pop culture and the entertainment world. Many young people have been swallowed up by the new culture. Lurid music, alcohol abuse, addiction to illicit drugs and pornography give our young people a false sense of happiness and hope. They wallow in a morass of dependency on a destructive culture.

Many surveys by sociologists show that children who are well grounded on strong family values are likely to withstand the powerful temptations of the new culture.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate said when he heard about the Nakasi incident he spoke to his grandchild and counselled him. All parents should be doing a lot of that on a daily basis, teaching their children about basic values.

We may lead busy lives but teaching our children at home is our Number One priority. In fact it is our most important God-given responsibility which we cannot pass on to another person. When we fail, our children will fall through the cracks into the waiting arms of an evil world. The two who allegedly committed this horrendous crime are part of this group. Churches, because of their powerful influence on people, must address this issue in their discourses.

Public discussions so far talk about measures after the incident. We also need to talk about things we can do to prevent the incident.



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