Sunvoice

Time To Unite Behind Govt Against Rape, Sexual Violence

It is time we as citizens of this nation do some soul searching, sit and talk about how we can collectively address the increasing number of cases of sexual violence
30 Mar 2016 09:44
Time To Unite Behind Govt Against Rape, Sexual Violence

It is time we as citizens of this nation do some soul searching, sit and talk about how we can collectively address the increasing number of cases of sexual violence against women and children.

Such abuse must simply stop.

The recent case of Mere Ailevu is sadly a wake-up call. The brutality of how she suffered and died begs the question as to whether we as a society are doing enough to protect our women and our young.

Last month’s statistics of serious sexual offences released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions are horrifying.

“There were 17 people charged with a total of 38 separate incidents in February. The offences were rape (24), attempted rape (1), indecent assault (1), sexual assault (11) and one incident of pornographic activities involving a juvenile. There were 20 victims of the 38 separate incidents. There were 12 victims under the age of 18 years. Of the 12, there were 8 rape victims under the age of 18 of which two victims were also sexually assaulted and one was also a victim of pornographic activity.”

In addition to this, the recently released Fiji Police Crime Statistics Report 2015 revealed the following:

Rape and Attempted Rape

2014 – 246 cases

2015 – 284 cases (An increase of 16 per cent or 38 cases)

This moral outrage has clearly seeped through every facet of our society. It must stop.

While isolated demonstrations and workshops may be helpful, a united and collective approach is necessary.  For years, women’s groups have fought hard to address the issue.

But the issue persists despite the millions of dollars pumped into programmes, projects, training and the sort.

It’s time to also put aside territorialism. Women’s groups, Government, Police, civil society agencies, law makers and all Fijians must work together to terminate the rising  trend of the violation of one’s basic human right to life.

Leading the way in this fight is Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.  Time and again he has emphasised that Government works to protect and safeguard the rights and interests of women in Fiji. The Prime Minister has become the leading advocate for action.

The Bainimarama Government also stresses that violence against women and children is everyone’s responsibility.

The move by the Multi-Agency Taskforce on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) to embark on new strategies to combat violence in Fiji is a move in the right direction.

Led by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, the taskforce is made up of representatives from Government,  United Nations agencies, non-government organisations, faith-based and civil society groups.

But the momentum must be maintained and amplified. Territorialism must be put aside by all. This must be a united action. Otherwise it risks becoming just another ‘words and no result’ repeat.

 



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