WOMEN from Tavua, Ba and Nadi were recently part of a FemLINKPacific rural community consultation program to discuss domestic violence among other issues concerning women.
According to a FemLINKPacific statement, many women who turned up at the meeting at the Ba Senior Citizens Centre were still unwilling to report cases of domestic violence.
A 73-year-old widow, Utram Wati shared during the meeting how a common experience for many women who experienced violence was that they did not know where or how to access their rights.
The women admitted that often they would not report the violence because of their fear of retaliation, the statement said.
Similar meetings held in Nadi also revealed that there needed to be more policies that ensured that violence against women were kept at a minimum.
According to 48-year-old Losana Derenalagi of Nawaka Women's Club, there was a need to address the huge gaps between policy commitments to eliminate violence against women and actual protection, support and services by the state especially at local level.
Lavenia Misimisi of the Yavusania Women's Group said political and personal security for women was closely connected to women's access to their rights and freedoms including an understanding of state policies and laws.
The consultations run by FemLINKPacific was organised with support of the European Union and the International Women's Development Agency where radio programs were produced for the community.