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Fiji Women's Rights Movement: Another Life Lost – When Will The Violence Stop?


FWRM strongly condemns the horrific and brutal killing of Fijian women (FEMICIDE) in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Despite the continued advocacy on gender-based violence, we record another death, another statistic of domestic violence in our country. When will this stop?

Kitiana Baravilala is her name; a mother, a daughter and a friend. The death of Kiti serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive nature of IPV in this country and the urgent need for comprehensive solutions. While the State through the Fiji National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against All Women and Girls (NAPVAWG) has made a whole-of-government and whole-of-country commitment to prevent violence before it happens, there is still much work to be done.

It is crucial to recognise and challenge the harmful narrative of victim-blaming that often surrounds these cases. No one should ever be blamed for the violence inflicted upon them. We need to shift the conversation towards accountability, support, and prevention. For too long, victims of IPV have been unfairly burdened with blame and shame, perpetuating a cycle of silence and stigma. This culture of silence perpetuates the cycle of violence by allowing the perpetrators to go unchecked and most essentially requires support from families. The rise of victim-blaming on online forums and in comments of media posts is disgraceful. FWRM urges media outlets to monitor their platforms vigilantly and censor hate speech and victim blaming rhetoric such as “She probably deserved it”. Such comments disrespect the life of the victim.

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FWRM calls on the Online Safety Commission and the Fiji Human Rights Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) to act and work towards eliminating online hate against women even after they have been stabbed and beaten to death.

The cycle of trauma every victim/survivor of domestic violence faces is horrific. From experiencing violence for the very first time, to finding the courage and support to seek help, only to interact with friends, family members and even the Police who coerce victims to reconcile. Police officers as frontliners responding to domestic violence (DV) must be capable enough to know the level of danger posed to any complainant considering Fiji’s history of domestic violence related deaths.

Courts must also be more vigilant in assessing whether someone should be remanded, imprisoned or let out on bail. Corrections through its reintegration programs MUST ensure that the process of rehabilitation and reintegration is survivor centered and does not further harm anyone else. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the FHRADC have a crucial role to play in ensuring that justice is served in cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and DV. Their continued involvement and advocacy are essential to break the culture of silence surrounding these issues and to hold perpetrators accountable.

We must create an environment where survivors feel safe to come forward and where perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

The tragic death of Kitiana Baravilala means that we simply cannot afford to remain silent in the face of such atrocities. It is time for action, solidarity, and a commitment to creating a society where all individuals are safe and free from violence. Our families, communities, villages, schools, universities, workplaces and all public spaces MUST come together to prevent violence before it happens.

#Sayhername #Knowherstory #Endfemicide #Justice4KitiEnds

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