YESTERDAY marked the launch of a four-day workshop on the elimination of gender-based violence.
With the theme 'Act Justly: Stop Gender-based Violence, the workshop saw about 20 participants from around the region come together to discuss the issue.
Hosted by the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) and God's Pacific People and Weavers, the event was opened by a keynote address from the president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu.
Mr Waqairatu, who was also the chief guest, highlighted the need for people to grasp what the phrase 'gender-based violence' meant.
"This is violence against women based on women's subordinate status in society.
"It is the infliction of any type of harm on a woman or girl because of her gender," he said.
He said this was something that needed to be addressed quickly because of its prevalence in both the public and private spheres.
"This happens in all societies, across all social classes. It is legitimised by many cultures, institutions and some Christian groups in society and its effects are extensive in nature," Mr Waqairatu said.
In moving forward, he said there needed to be more bold moves from society, particularly from churches.
"The church must create a climate of openness and develop policies and procedures which keep children and the vulnerable safe from harm.