Opinion

Editorial: Spot on Vuniwaqa! It’s Not Leadership, But Decaying Moral Values

It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to teach children about these values. No Constitution or national policy can ever do the same.
15 Feb 2019 15:36
Editorial: Spot on Vuniwaqa! It’s Not Leadership, But Decaying Moral Values
Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa. Photo: Ministry of Women

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa was spot on when she told Parliament on Wednesday that the rise in rape and sexual assault cases was a result of decaying moral values.

These are values taught and nurtured at home. Values like respect, integrity, loyalty, honesty and truthfulness. It shapes the way one looks at society and others. Our moral values guide us to distinguish what is right or wrong.

It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to teach children about these values. No Constitution or national policy can ever  do the same.

Parents are responsible.  If parents and guardians are serious about their role, then children grow up knowing what’s right and what’s not.

They would in-turn teach their own children the same and the cycle continues. This of course is the ideal.

But Ms Vuniwaqa is not an idealist.

She understands that our society has its challenges.

In fact, she calls Fiji’s situation an “emergency.”

An emergency where we seriously need to take a step back and re-evaluate what and how we are teaching our children.

Perhaps we are saying one thing while our actions show something else.

For instance, while we encourage our children to respect and love others, we beat up and bash our loved ones.

Children of course learn more from the examples we set rather than the utterances we make.

So, while it’s easy to play the blame game and point fingers at the possible causes of the rape of women and sexual violence on our children, Fiji’s situation is dire.

Perhaps the penalty for such crimes should be increased. But would that really solve the problem?

Ms Vuniwaqa’s question in Parliament should make every parent and guardian apprehensive about where our society is heading.

“How are we teaching our children at home, how are we teaching our grandchildren, what values are we imparting to them?”

It’s not because of leadership, it is because of us, it is because of the breakdown of the family unit, it is because of the decay in moral values and that is where we are to look.“This is critical, that is where the emergency is,” she said.

She added the Government had implemented initiatives like toll free numbers 1325 for violence against children and 1560 in relation to domestic violence to encourage victims to report offences committed against them.

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