Opinion

Mrs Vuniwaqa and Values We Need to Teach. Daily

Hear the words of Mereseini Vuniwaqa. Heed them. Our Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation on July 22 in Lautoka highlighted what we hear about near daily. She told
29 Jul 2017 11:58
Mrs Vuniwaqa and Values We Need to Teach. Daily

Hear the words of Mereseini Vuniwaqa. Heed them.

Our Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation on July 22 in Lautoka highlighted what we hear about near daily.

She told the Women on the Front­line Conference at the Balawa Apos­tles Church: “What are we teaching our children today?

“When I look at statistics of do­mestic violence, 72 per cent of Fi­jian women who have been in an intimate relationship have suffered domestic violence.”

 

Despite all

Despite all the talk and education. Despite the efforts of the enforcers of the laws. Despite all the money people poured into high profile Non Government Organisations, domestic violence against women and children continues seemingly unabated.

Go to the court houses and the pa­rade of cases marches on.

Read or listen to the news media.

Sadly, so many cases happen where the victim and perpetrator are related.

Agreed. Some of the recent report­ing of such crimes by victims has got to do with more awareness and victims being encouraged to report any such offences.

In the past, such cases were kept under wraps and often settled through traditional means.

It was settled and the victims were left to carry that nightmare throughout their lives because the request for forgiveness was accept­ed by the parents.

New rules have now been put in place where such traditional means of settling these incidents does not carry any weight in the courtroom.

It may be mentioned in mitigating factors before the judge but the ag­gravating factors far outweigh this.

 

The sentences

Sentences by the judiciary on rape charges reflect the horror with which sexual violence is now viewed by the many decent people of society. The judiciary is sending a strong message.

But with these harsh penalties, one would think this would instil fear in would be perpetrators and the crime statistics would lessen. Sadly the parade of cases and vic­tims through the courts and report­ing in the news media continues.

So what is it that could be done to “nip the problem in the bud”, so to speak.

As Mrs Vuniwaqa pointed out, there could be the starting point and that is the upbringing of the child.

Government is doing what it can to curb what Mrs Vuniwaqa de­scribed as a “cancer’ in our society.

“Government has been imple­menting policies to address this cancer in our society.”

 

Hotlines, help

“Government is doing a lot to ad­dress this including a toll free hot­line with counsellors on one end.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa said now they have also installed a ‘child’s’ hotline which showed the continuous rise also of child abuse and child ne­glect in our country.

“As a Minister I know for a fact that it will not end tomorrow where we wake up to zero statistics.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa said one major challenge to combat this and slowly eradicate it long term is in the man­ner in which the young are raised. And emphasis on faith-based val­ues which are universal.

She said: “If we inculcate in our children their different privileges and obligations then we are helping raise another generation of Fiji­ans who will continue to inculcate equality.

“Government cannot weed out do­mestic violence on its own like in­stalling toll free hotlines, building homes for abused women, making laws and charge offenders and jail them.”

With a rise in concerns of wom­en and children, she encouraged faith-based organisations and par­ticipants to educate their various groups and family members to eliminate social ills and discrimi­nation against them.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said her ministry will work closely with faith-based organisations in the new financial year to help Government efforts to eliminate violence against women and child abuse and neglect,.

But Mrs Vuniwaqa’s message is clear. As well as all the measures now being taken we need to also start at the beginning.

Parents need to take that step of showcasing to society that they have a family built on values of love, humility and respect for one another. Faith based organisations can play an important role.

Subscribe to E-Edition
pacific island top up
Rewa Fiji Dairy Ltd
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: