NEWS

Woman Dead After Alleged Stabbing Over Social Media Message

“The suspect allegedly punched and stabbed the victim during a heated argument over a Facebook message that was sent to a relative of the victim,” Ms Naisoro said.
01 Jul 2019 10:49
Woman Dead After Alleged Stabbing Over Social Media Message
Salanieta Leba’s parents, Veniana Waqairatu and Savenaca Waqairatu, with a photo of Ms Leba at their home in Nausori on June 30, 2019. INSET: The late Salanieta Leba. Photo: Ashna Kumar

A man is being questioned by Police after a 19-year-old woman died, Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said in a statement yesterday.

The victim, Salanieta Leba, was rushed to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

“The suspect allegedly punched and stabbed the victim during a heated argument over a Facebook message that was sent to a relative of the victim,” Ms Naisoro said.

The post-mortem examination was expected to be conducted yesterday.

“The suspect is in custody at the Valelevu Police Station as investigations continue,” Ms Naisoro said.

The incident occurred in Colo-i-Suva.

Minister condemns act

Yesterday, the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa once again led the charge in condemning such violent acts.

“What is it that gives some men the belief that they have the right to take the life of their female partner or spouse when there is a disagreement or a difference in opinions?” Ms Vuniwaqa asked in a statement.

“The reasons we get to hear about are many and diverse such as an affair, drunkenness, a blackout, money, jealousy, rage, or simply a Facebook message, really? Has the value of the life of a woman been reduced to a few sentences on social media now?”

She said the root of all these and many more, lies in a power struggle.

“The male psyche deeply entrenched in a gender stereotyped world which gives to the male, power and privilege over the female,” she said.

“From a culture which expects the female to cook, clean, set the table, to only eat after the males have eaten and wash the dishes thereafter; to an upbringing which puts the male child ahead of the female child in every family event.

“We face it when we go to school; boys pulling our bra straps, poking girls with a ruler through that gap on the bus seat, writing on toilet walls about that pretty girl in class, making up stories about that “play hard to get” girl, all these being done under the cover of “child’s play” and accepted as such.

“And when that girl grows up into a woman and steps out of the mould of “expected” behaviour she faces a pushback in the form of violence in various forms. In some cases it leads to death.

“Addressing gender based violence takes a whole community, a whole nation.

“We will not be able to take concrete steps towards eradicating this national shame if the different stakeholders in society keep reading from different hymn sheets. The song needs to be the same! It must be loud and clear and unequivocal,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

Salanieta, an obedient daughter

Meanwhile, the father of the deceased described his daughter as ‘an obedient girl’.

Savenaca Waqairatu was relayed the tragic news by a Colo-i-Suva Forestry staff member to one of the staff in Nausori, who then informed him through a phone message.

“I am not aware of what happened. We have been to the hospital and were there during the post-mortem examination.

“Salanieta was an obedient girl. Last week, she and the partner were home (at Nausori) whole week until Friday they went to his house.

“We had always encouraged her to continue her studies.

“She used to tell us that she wanted to become a nurse and we kept encouraging and motivating her to pursue her studies further.

“We are hoping for justice for Sala. She will be dearly missed by us. We were a happy family.

“Being the eldest child, she was a role model for her siblings.

“We have planned for the funeral to take place on Friday,” Mr Waqairatu said.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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