NATION

What They Say: Acs Body, Minister, Church Speak Out

“All levels of society must embark boldly today in addressing such choices in that context even if it means breaking the taboo sex cultured traditions.”
21 Nov 2020 11:48
What They Say: Acs Body, Minister, Church Speak Out
President of the Methodist Church in Fiji Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa (Left) and Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (Right)

Adi Cakobau School (ACS) Parents and Teachers Association said the issue was not about the school or its administration but about choices taken by girls to address unwanted pregnancies.

These were sentiments of president Lasarusa Turaga about the ongoing social media debate of our use of ‘ACS’ Baby Death in our front page headline this week.

“We now live in a society which creates conducive sex related environments in which institutions aren’t spared. At the end of the day, it’s all about choices,” he said.

“All levels of society must embark boldly today in addressing such choices in that context even if it means breaking the taboo sex cultured traditions.”

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro on Thursday confirmed the postmortem result and said the incident was a result of a stillbirth.

Ms Naisoro said investigators will go through the findings before deciding the next course of action.

 

Mereseini Vuniwaqa Response

With the incident causing a national uproar, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa said the society needed to wake up and start accepting the reality of premarital sex.

She said the incident showed the failure of the society as peers and parents for creating an atmosphere of fear.

She said it seemed that the young woman was so fearful that she could not talk of her situation.

“The issue yet again highlights the stigma around premarital sex and as long as we as a society continue to assume, or entertain the idea that premarital sex is not happening among teenage or is still unacceptable as a social norm, we will continue to hear those stories,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

“It brings out the need for us to rethink the whole scenario in relation to premarital sex. I think because of the social stigma around us, that girl had to go through pregnancy without telling anyone about it.

“That is fear. Fear of telling someone in authority, fear of telling someone who could help her.

“It is not an easy thing to go through, any woman can tell you that. Even a married woman going through pregnancy is not an easy thing.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said this was not an isolated incident. She said this was asking Fijians as a community, as a nation to rethink the norm around premarital sex.

 

Methodist Church Response

President of the Methodist Church in Fiji Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa said young people should not fear discussing issues affecting them with church and family.

He said the Methodist Church in Fiji was deeply concerned about the welfare of children, particularly our young women.

“This includes sexuality, uncertainty about employment, drugs, expectations.

“Our young people, especially young women are vulnerable to peer pressure and external influences through new media,” he said.

“Our communities can be very judgemental and cruel when it comes to these issues and we need to be more compassionate, more loving and more Christlike so that our young people feel safe to share what is happening in their lives.

“The examples adults and our leaders are setting by their behaviour is also a challenge for our young people. This tragic situation is a stark reminder of how much work we still have to do as churches.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedbackshalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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