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Rape horror

Repeka Nasiko And Nanise Loanakadavu
Friday, February 15, 2013

A FOUR-year-old girl is the latest victim of rape in Fiji, sparking outrage from women's organisations and churches.

As hundreds of people marched through the Capital City against any form of violence against women and children, police confirmed the case was reported from the Western Division this week.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said an 18-year-old farmer was in police custody.

He said the alleged incident happened on Wednesday between 3pm and 5pm. The suspect and the girl are from the same village.

Insp Sokomuri said the suspect entered the house through a window into a bedroom where all the children were sleeping.

The mother of the victim reported the matter to police.

"As investigations into the matter continue, the incident has once again sparked a warning that these crimes will not be condoned and those who continue to prey on our children will be brought to justice," Insp Sokomuri said.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua who is touring the west, said a more concerted approach was needed to weed out this social ill.

He said this was an issue of morality, which police were ill-equipped to handle on their own.

The Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma said rape is a "cowardly act" and one of the biggest threat against women in society today.

Church general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra said there was not much attention given to the moral aspects of people's life but a lot of money had been spent on developing the nation and infrastructure.

"This has hindered other development," Mr Nawadra said.

"Fiji lacks ethical moral lifestyle which is evident in the increase in the number of rape cases and authorities need to strategise their plans now."

Mr Nawadra, however, said the increase in the number of reported cases showed that police no longer withheld information that was deemed sensitive and were not reported by the media.

He said this information was vital as people needed to share it.

He said heads of church circuits have been actively involved in reminding parents of their roles.

The head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop elect of Suva Father Dr Father Peter Chong, said the church believed perpetrators had been influenced through the information readily available through the media.

He said pornographic scene could now be easily accessed via mobile phone and internet shops.

"The power of the media has acted out on this perpetrator," he said.

This, he said, had changed the lifestyle of people that eventually changed their values and attitude.

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre said people should stop voicing their opinions but rather put their words into actions.

FWCC director Shamima Ali said the increase in the number of reported cases had made the people panic, yet nothing much was done to eradicate it.

"They need to bring their idea to the table because this is a universal sickness and Fiji is no exception," Ms Ali said.

She said 90 per cent of rape victims were women, which had been proven through their survey that men's attitude were deteriorating.

Ms Ali said they had conducted their own research which was presented to the Minister for Social Welfare and Women, Dr Jiko Luveni.

"We have a universal understanding and deep knowledge of what's happening here in Fiji," she said.

"Why aren't women raping men? It is how men look at women and girls in society."

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