This was Jyoti Pratibha’s My Say prepared for FBC TV’s 4 The Record last night. It was not broadcast due to FBC programming changes. As the nation celebrates Easter,
29 Mar 2016 09:49
Sad young woman sitting on the bed


This was Jyoti Pratibha’s My Say prepared for FBC TV’s 4 The Record last night. It was not broadcast due to FBC programming changes.

As the nation celebrates Easter, it is a time to reflect on the type of society we want for our women and children.

Women being raped are a gross violation of their human rights. It is a shame for all of us as a nation when our women and children cannot walk on the streets without fear.

And not just rape. Any form of sexual assault is a taint on our society.

Daily, women are subjected to various forms of sexual harassment, sexual assault.

At their workplace – where an innocent hug leads to opening of a Pandora’s Box, or from bosses who seek sexual favours in return for work or promotion.

At Universities! Yes. Everyone talks about this in hushed tones but no one comes up to discuss this openly. Ask any university student.

Everyone has a tale about one lecturer or the other who is willing to turn a fail into a pass in return for a little something.

It is happening. Turning a blind eye to it will not make it go away.

Marital rape is another reality. Just because we do not talk about it, does not mean this does not happen.

And do you realise what is worse? The traditional form of apology.

Yes. This is also a reality. Many perpetrators have been getting away with even rapes by traditionally apologising to the families of their victims.

This is a fact that even the Fiji Police Force is grappling with right now.

Recently, we came to know about one settlement where women were allegedly raped for decades and the perpetrator was getting away with it.

Every time he allegedly raped a woman, his family would do the bulubulu and seek forgiveness. And, he would be forgiven.

Do you know why this was acceptable or why it is difficult for an employee or a student to speak out against sexual violence? Because we as a society are failing.

Somehow, we have made these victims feel that being raped is the end of the road for them.

The stigma attached with it is enough for any woman to keep shut. Because we have made them feel that if people come to know about their ordeal, they will be judged.

We have made women feel that if they speak out against sexual violence that they are experiencing, people will turn on them. Their character would be questioned and assassinated.

We all have heard that remark – she must have initiated it, or she liked it the first time.

Or, she is a wife – it is her duty to sleep with her husband when he demands.

We are to be blamed that women are hesitant about coming forth.

We are to be blamed when we start to justify sexual harassment.

Recently in India, one girl had to record her father raping her. Why? Because her mother and sister refused to believe her.

Closer home, we are so quick to turn a blind eye. If it is not happening to me, it’s all good.

But stop this! Sexual harassment should be everyone’s problem.

I leave you this week with these thoughts, till we meet again next week.

This is Jyoti Pratibha of the Fiji Sun.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj


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