Women’s Human Rights Groups Condemn Misogynistic Social Media Posts Against Women MPs
Women’s human rights groups are disgusted and appalled at the misogynistic attacks made by Kishore Kumar on social media against female members of Parliament and strongly condemn this act of violence and cyber-bullying.
The social media commentator on his Facebook page, Kishore Kumar Publications, has made several public videos vilifying and defaming female members of parliament. The public posts contain abusive and sexually derogatory remarks against certain women members of parliament.
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, femLINKpacific and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement call for urgent action to condemn all forms of violence and discrimination against women and address the disturbing series of attacks from Mr. Kumar.
FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali said this is often how men discourage, deter and malign younger women and women in all their diversities from political participation and national discussions at all levels.
“Such comments on an open public platform are not only detrimental for women but pose great risks to their safety and national participation. This is a great example of cyberbullying, harassment and hate speech.”
“This repeated and targeted acts of psychological violence including character attacks, cyberbullying and harassment, on Honourable Lenora Qereqeretabua and other female members of Parliament, must also be condemned by all parties and the State, with further action to be taken,” said femLINKpacific Executive Director, Susan Naisara Grey.
“We condemn the violence, which includes all forms of aggression, coercion and intimidation against women as political actors, which is one of the most serious hurdles to women’s full and equal political participation,” said Ms. Grey.
“There must be no impunity for violence against women, including within the cyber and virtual space. It is unacceptable that Mr. Kumar is allowed to continue making targeted sexist attacks that are discriminatory, abusive and defamatory against women and there have been no repercussions for his action,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.
“Violence against women is a non-partisan issue and whichever woman he targets, whether a government MP or a member of the opposition, it must be condemned and there must be justice.”
It is equally disturbing to note that Mr. Kumar is a high school teacher and that he is allowed into classrooms despite his unethical and misogynistic behaviour. There must be better standards set by the Ministry of Education for educators as they play such a significant role for young people and children.
The women’s human rights groups call for investigations from the relevant authorities, including the Fiji Police Force, the Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission and the Online Safety Commission.
“The Online Safety Commission should not sit silently when these crimes continue to happen almost on a daily basis,” said Ms. Ali.
“Raising awareness about cyberbullying is one thing, but the enforcement of the law is equally important. There must be consequences for those who constantly contribute to unsafe cyberspace. The silence is deafening from women MPs from both sides of the House. This is when solidarity is important,” she said.
The Fiji Government and the Fiji Police Commissioner have made strong statements about ending violence against women in the past. This is an opportunity to strengthen these statements and send a message to the public that this cannot be condoned. Fiji has also recently ratified the ILO Convention to eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work. It is unacceptable that women MPs are facing sexually and mentally abusive attacks targeted against them because of their roles.
Women and girls have faced an enormous amount of violence on social media and online spaces. Mr. Kumar has been actively sharing abusive content for years and there seems to be no justice for his victims. Abusers must be held accountable and should not be allowed to hide behind virtual spaces with impunity. We must condemn and eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls.