Opinion

Holistic Approach Needed To Stamp Out Violence Against Women, Children

A clear message must go out in a multimedia campaign that there is zero tolerance on violence against women and children.
11 Mar 2019 11:51
Holistic Approach Needed To Stamp Out Violence Against Women, Children
Minister for Women and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (fourth from left) with members of the Touch Fiji women’s team and their children after the Vital Voices Global Mentoring walk on March 9,2019. Photo: Ministry of Women Children and Poverty Alleviation.

Violence against women and children continues unabated and is a scourge afflicting our community.

Whether it is physical, sexual or emotional, it should be strongly condemned and all perpetrators punished.

It is a shame and a national disgrace.

Why can’t we do something tangible about it instead of just talking about it ?

We should address this issue with a multi-faceted approach in the same way as the Ministry of Environment is trying to fix our rubbish problem.

When the late Dr Jiko Luveni as Minister for Women started a violence-free campaign in villages and settlements , domestic violence was top of the agenda.

It created a public awareness. While it was continued by her successors, it has become apparent that the ministry cannot do it alone.

It requires the support of all stakeholders. That means all of us.

This should be a national campaign.

It could be called Say No To Violence Against Women and Children.

The Women’s Ministry needs more allies in this battle.

If we are really serious about eradicating this problem it should be an integral part of our national conversation.

The following suggestions could be part of a strategy to address the issue.

1. All Government ministries should include this matter in their messaging. It means they should talk about it in their offices and when they go out to the public. It should be a matter of course when they are dealing with people in the public space.

2. It should be part of the conversation in divisional administration offices, municipal councils, district administration and provincial councils. They spearhead the campaign.

3. The same should happen in villages and settlements. The topic should be part of the agenda in development meetings. Community leaders, turaga ni koro (village headmen), village elders and chiefs should ensure that it is discussed in their meetings. Homes are monitored to make sure they are helped if they need it.

4. People must be encouraged to report any signs of violence to authorities and should be recognised for their efforts

5. A clear message must go out in a multi media campaign that there is zero tolerance on violence against women and children.

6. Religious organisations should promote the campaign in their churches and help parents teach nonviolence principles in their homes. They should also address the root causes of problems that cause conflicts and violence like abuse of alcohol, over consumption of kava, illicit drugs. Relationship problems is also a major cause that need to be addressed.

7. The issue must be discussed in schools also.

8. Harsh penalties by the courts for convicted offenders.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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