Opinion

Nemani Delaibatiki: We Can Only Effectively Address The Scourge Of Rape And Sexual Offences Through A Collaborative Approach

Neither the courts nor the police can do it alone. They need the support of all stakeholders. It should be part of the national conversation. We should encourage public discourse.
10 Feb 2020 10:18
Nemani Delaibatiki: We Can Only Effectively Address The Scourge Of Rape And Sexual Offences Through A Collaborative Approach

Opinion:

Let’s face it, we are under direct threat from the alarming incidence of rape and sexual offences.

And the only effective way of addressing this problem is through a collaborative approach.

Neither the courts nor the Police can do it alone.

We have seen that even after the courts increased the tariff on rape to life imprisonment, rape and sexual violence continue to rise.

It requires the active participation and support of all stakeholders. rt

They include the families,  church or faith-based organisations, schools, communities, settlements, villages and institutions like the provincial and rural district councils, the chiefly system, social and sporting groups, non-governmental organisations and Government agencies.

Discussions on issues that are of a sexual nature should be transparent- frank and open.

And it can be done within the confines of cultural and religious sensitivities.

The Family

The best forum to initiate discussions is the family. It is usually referred to as the first classroom for no other reason. That’s where children are taught their first lessons about life. There is no better place to teach sex education than in the family.

We should place greater emphasis on parents to take this important responsibility.

They should not be allowed to shirk their responsibility and pass it on to grandparents or others.

When two people are courting and preparing to get married they need to take classes where they learn the art of parenting and building relationships.  They need to realise that they have come from different upbringing and therefore bring these differences that later in the marriage become the subject of disputes and bitter acrimony.

It is a sad reality today that some young couples have little or no clue whatsoever on the importance of these pre-requisites to a stable and happy family.

If they lack the knowledge or experience how can we expect them to teach their children the right principles?

Through the collaborative concept, we can play a proactive role. Government agencies in partnership with NGOs and the private sector can initiate these classes in consultation with the leaders of communities and faith-based groups. Resources used for this cause are a prudent investment because they help achieve our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The success of any social or economic policy of a national government is measured on how it impacts families. Dysfunctional families are a huge cost to the nation, particularly where children are involved.

Children may drop out of school, join the wrong crowd and engage in anti-social behaviour before they graduate into serious criminal activities. They put enormous pressure on Government resources – resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Conversely, if the children are well taught by parents who know what they are doing, they are most likely to succeed in their educational pursuits, get a qualification, obtain a good job and raise a stable family of achievers who contribute meaningfully to growing our economy.

The advent of the internet has transformed the way we live. It has brought both good and bad into homes.

It has made pornography accessible to both young and old. This has been linked to the increasing incidence of rape and sexual offences, some of them committed against children by family members in their homes.

Parents must teach their children the dangers of pornography and how it could seriously damage or destroy their lives. They should also monitor what they access online. Facebook and social media can be good if used appropriately.

If children are busy doing positive things, they have no time for the filth and garbage that are out there. That happens when parents create a conducive environment at home.

Faith-based groups

They play an important role. Because they wield a lot of influence on their members they can become an effective medium to realise our SDGs.

Teachings from the pulpit should focus on social issues that are threatening to tear marriages and families apart.

The spiritual strength of people is crucial if we are to combat this rise in sexual offences 

When people are truly converted in the spiritual sense they will abhor sexual offences. Christians and other faiths do not condone or tolerate these sexual offences.

But how do they get would-be offenders not to do it?

That’s what they need to address.

They can guide parents to teach their families on values and principles.

Perhaps, they need to talk about the importance of choices because that determines whether we will be happy or sad. Right choices will bring blessings. Wrong choices will bring pain, suffering and misery.

This is a Divine and eternal law. When the people are taught the fundamental truths they will empower them to say no to pornography, rape and sexual offences.

More sexual offences are now being reported because of the public awareness campaign on domestic violence and sexual violence. It is understood that many cases have yet to be reported.

It, however, does not take away the fact that there is an alarming increase in cases that have happened recently.

It’s all the more reason why we should be doing something about it.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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