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Denounce patriarchy & promote peace this holiday

Say no to violence this holiday season and protect women and girls’ peace and security.

Following the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence and with the holiday season drawing near, FWRM calls for a deeper reflection and change of attitude towards Fiji’s epidemic of violence against women and girls.

“This has been a difficult year for human rights in Fiji, particularly for women and girls. Sexual violence and rape make the news every day and tragically nine lives were lost to domestic violence. This Christmas and holiday season, it is important to celebrate friends and family but, also, we must relook at ourselves and reflect on how we can create a community that is safer for our women and girls,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

It is everyone’s responsibility to promote a community that respects human rights, gender equality, good governance, democracy and the rule of law but FWRM is concerned that it continues to be people in leadership and influential positions that perpetuate toxic attitudes.

FWRM has noted recent comments made by Justice Salesi Temo in Court in relation to the case where a farmer was charged for kicking a thermos containing hot water onto his wife’s face because he was unhappy with his breakfast. The story was reported by the Fiji Sun on Wednesday 18 December. The learned Judge also focused on the need for a Men’s Crisis Centre.

“There is no excuse for violence against women and girls. Rape culture; blaming the victim and slut-shaming are so ingrained at all levels of our communities that it continues to be the biggest barrier and threat to women and girls lives,” said Ms Singh.

“No matter how frustrated a person may be, violence is not the answer. It is shocking that it has been a woman who is injured and yet there were comments about having a Men’s Crisis Centre. The real crisis is that we refuse to hold men accountable for their own violent actions and women and girls pay the heavy price. If men feel that they need anger management classes or counselling then they are free to develop their own centers. But none of these suggestions will work if the root cause of violence against women and girls, which is patriarchy, is not challenged and addressed.”

Ms Singh said recognising the issue including how patriarchy manifests in society, raising awareness on gender-based violence, and how it links to other forms of discrimination against women and girls, is an essential start towards transforming attitudes.

“The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and our allies call on all sectors of society to join us in our ongoing work to end violence and discrimination against women and girls. The responsibility belongs to ALL of us to take action in our homes and communities. We wish everyone a safe and violence-free festive season.”

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