Pacific communities tackling violence through faith
Hon Aupito William Sio
Minister for Pacific Peoples
11 September 2018
Speaking at the inaugural 2 day Fono “Faith2Move Talanoa Hubbs: Faith moving mountains to prevent family violence in our Pasifika communities”, Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said, “Pacific people must become the authors of our own solutions to tackle head-on the ugly realities of family violence that haunts the lives of far too many Pacific families”.
“Pacific leaders at all levels must take up every opportunity to confront the ugly realities of family violence, and shine a light upon sexual abuse in our families that has been kept in the shadows as a dark community secret that no one talks about.
“Our reported levels of family violence are disproportionately high as also is the suicide rate amongst Pacific youth.
“These are uncomfortable facts that we have failed to acknowledge for far too long, but if we are to help the next generation, we must all do our part in eliminating it and creating a safe environment in our homes.
“When we stay silent on these issues, when we avoid the hard conversations, when we disassociate ourselves as if it is nothing to do with me, we are collectively responsible for covering it all up.
“This does nothing for the victims, it merely provides the abuser with the licence to abuse.
“I know it will be difficult to have an open conversation about these matters for many, because the offenders and victims are often family members, but we must move past the shame.
“As part of the Ministry for Pacific People’s Pacific Vision engagement programme across the country, I have heard that people in our communities have raised concerns about the impact family violence has had on families. There are also positive solutions being offered as well, which is encouraging.
“This work will make an important contribution to the government’s work to prevent and reduce family violence and sexual violence in partnership with communities, being led by Under-Secretary Jan Logie. One size doesn’t fit all and we need solutions that respond to the needs of people in different communities.
“Organisations such as Affirming Works, Le Va and Pasefika Proud as well as secular programmes are all sources of help”, said Aupito William Sio.