The Cancer Of Domestic Violence and Rape is Getting Worse

 What has become of society? The ever increasing do­mestic violence against women and children continue to rise and is become a worry fact in Fiji today. Perhaps the words of
29 Jul 2017 11:55
The Cancer Of Domestic Violence and Rape is Getting Worse

 What has become of society?

The ever increasing do­mestic violence against women and children continue to rise and is become a worry fact in Fiji today.

Perhaps the words of Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Al­leviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa on July 22 in Lautoka highlights the ever growing problem that is un­precedented.

“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.”

Are parents doing enough to in­stil in their children the values of life that is so lacking in the world today?

One has to go to the court houses every week to find cases of domes­tic violence and rape.

The Fiji Sun sees sentences passed down by the High Court on these cases every week.


In the family

Sadly, most of these cases happen within the family where the victim and perpetrator are related.

Perhaps some of the recent report­ing by victims has got to do with awareness and the change of mode where victims are now encouraged to report any such offences.

In Fijian society in the past, such cases were kept under wraps as it was settled through traditional means of seeking forgiveness ei­ther with a tabua (whale’s tooth) or yagona roots.

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.

Some have even put it down to the internet where it is available every­where and anyone can browse what they want.

Porn is readily available at a touch.

This surely has assisted in a lot of ways to the corruption of the minds of men who take their pleasure out illegally on women, young girls and boys, most of whom are vulnerable.


New laws

New laws 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 one’s good points.

The sentences are high, ranging mainly from eight years to close to 20 years in some cases.

But with these harsh penalties, one would think this would instil fear in would be perpetrators and the crime statistics would lessen – sadly it seems to have had no effect.

Even abuse on children is on the rise and has become so much of a worry that Government has in­stalled a “child toll free hot line.’

The dailies will provide such evi­dence as such cases are reported almost every day.

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


Govt’s fight against abuse, rape

As Mrs Vuniwaqa pointed out, this 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.

“These statistics go back a few years and in light of the stats, Gov­ernment has been implementing policies to address this cancer in our society.

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

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the numbers were increasing and 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 was on the manner in which children were raised.

“There is hope in our children and that hope has to come from us wom­en and the values we instil in them.

“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.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa said she was over whelmed to attend this function because it was all about empower­ing women using the principles of Christianity.

She principles embedded in the Bible was common amongst main­stream religions.

She said if all followed the teach­ings of the Bibles, which is com­mon amongst all mainstream re­ligions, then what was being done wrong that saw a continuing rise in abuse and domestic violence.

“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.

“But we can eradicate this if we do not get the right partnership from our stakeholders.

“We believe that faith-based or­ganisations are very strong part­ners, but the full potential of that partnership has not been fully rec­ognised.”

Let’s start at the beginning.

Parents now need to take that step of showcasing to society that they have a family built on values of love, humility and respect fro one another.

Let’s make a start now or society will be doomed.

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