NATION

Social Evil On Display At Fiji Museum

  Clothes of sexual assault victims tell of horrifying moments. We need to be vigorous about addressing sexual assault and sexual vio­lence issues in the home, says Re­productive and Family
19 Apr 2018 10:00
Social Evil On Display At Fiji Museum
Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji director, Matelita Cadravula.

 

Clothes of sexual assault victims tell of horrifying moments.

We need to be vigorous about addressing sexual assault and sexual vio­lence issues in the home, says Re­productive and Family Health As­sociation of Fiji director Matelita Cadravula.

Ms Cadravula was speaking at the “What Were You Wearing?” rape survivors clothing exhibit, which was launched at the Fiji Museum on Monday.

Clothing worn by rape victims on display at the Fiji Museum.

Clothing worn by rape victims on display at the Fiji Museum.

The exhibition is a first of its kind to be held locally and features sto­ries of sexual violence and repre­sentations of what each survivor was wearing at the time of their as­sault, along with a brief narrative from each survivor.

Ms Cavudrala said too often when people hear of incidents of sexual violence, the first question they ask is, what was she wearing? Where was she?

She said the exhibition aimed to eliminate the notion that a victim was, in a way, responsible for their attack because of what they wore.

Clothing worn by rape victims on display at the Fiji Museum.

Clothing worn by rape victims on display at the Fiji Museum.

She said the project was about en­couraging survivors to speak out.

“It is also looking at empowering survivors so that they can see that they are not alone,” she said.

“It is also trying to dispel the myths around what we wear. We want people to see that it is not about what they were wearing. It is about power and abuse of power.”

One of the exhibits showcases the clothing a female survivor was wearing inside a popular Suva nightclub when she was sexually assaulted.

Ms Cavudrala said the survivor narrated how no one cared about her when she was sexually assault­ed because she was inside a club.

“We need to dispel those myths and really talk about sexual vio­lence and assault. It is not about blaming the survivor, it is about ad­dressing the real issue and that is power,” she said.

Clothing worn by a victim on display at the Fiji Museum.

Clothing worn by a victim on display at the Fiji Museum.

Ms Cadravula that the exhibits also included representation and stories from male survivors.

She said this proved that it was not about gender.

“How can you justify the sexual assault of a four year old or six year old? You can­not even justify that by the clothes they were wear­ing,” she said.

Ms Cavudrala encouraged mem­bers of the com­munity to assist rape survivors by relooking at patterns of upbring­ing in the home.

“The family is the first place where a child will learn the rules of society because it is in the fam­ily where a child learns his or her role,” she said.

“We need to address gender roles. We need to change how our chil­dren socialise.”

“We need to tell them that no one has more power over the other and that everyone is equal.”

She said the church also played a role in addressing gender issues.

“Fiji is a patriarchal society and as long as it is man-dominated that power play will always be in place,” Ms Cavudrala said.

The exhibition will continue at the Fiji Museum until April 25, 2018, which will be marked as Den­im Day. Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

 

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