Analysis

Calling Out The Hypocrisy Of Women’s Groups

Why is it that one of the oldest women’s organisations in the country has remained so quiet over a minister being harassed?
09 Mar 2019 11:45
Calling Out The Hypocrisy Of Women’s Groups
Shamima Ali.

It has been a week today since the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar spoke out about online bullying and vilification she and her daughters had to face in light of her estranged husband’s criminal charges.

Not one women’s group released any statements backing her, asking the online trolls to leave her and her daughters alone.

On March 5, Fiji Sun journalists called the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali to get her comments on this issue.
They also wanted her remarks on the reclaim the night event the NGOs hold every International Women’s Day.

Ms Ali asked that the questions be emailed to her. At 9.13am on March 5 questions were emailed to her.
This was followed by two more calls to her in which she assured the journalist that she would respond.
Nothing came.

On March 6, calls were once again made to her, seeking her response.  All went unanswered.
The journalist went down to the FWCC Australian-funded headquarters at Gordon Street in Suva.

She was informed by the receptionist that Ms Ali was in a meeting.
The journalist asked her to remind Ms Ali of the email and asked that she please respond to it. Nothing happened. On March 7, another journalist made a number of calls to Ms Ali. All went unanswered.

But, Ms Ali was quoted in the other newspaper, commenting on how a child cannot be questioned by Police without an adult being present.

We thought perhaps she would want to release a statement on International Women’s Day.

This edition went to press as International Women’s Day wrapped up, another reclaim the night event was held but not a peep was heard from Ms Ali on this issue.

Why? Why the silence? Why is it that one of the oldest women’s organisations in the country has remained so quiet over a minister being harassed?

And no, the vilification Ms Akbar faced does not come with the territory of being a public figure! Her daughters Was it politics? Was it because of personality clashes? What was it?

In 2019, FWRM issued has so far issued three media statements. They were about:
– Promoting women’s “representation in all their diversities”
– Their analysis of violence against women and children based on the rape statistics released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; and
– A workshop on women’s access to justice.

The FWCC too had a lot of time training Police officers and releasing statements about it. But, nothing to defend a woman and her daughters who had been brutally bullied on social media.
Are the donor agencies listening?

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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