WHEN women are violated physically or emotionally, the social impact affects productivity in the country, says Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni.
She made this comment while launching the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign at Tauvegavega in Ba on Friday.
Dr Luveni said the campaign was aimed at strengthening networking to eliminate violence against women and children.
"When a woman is violated, be it physical or emotional abuse, it is demeaning and negatively affects their productivity level," she said.
"We thank the Tauvegavega residents for their commitment to join hands with the ministry in creating a violence-free environment for their women and children.
"At the United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women held in New York in March this year, Fiji has also been acknowledged for its presentation on the priority theme 'Elimination and Prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls'.
"The formation of gatekeeping committees that comprises of male leaders has been regarded as a unique approach in addressing violence."
Dr Luveni presented certificates of commitment to the community as the first of 10 phases that incorporated six to eight months of training and awareness to prepare the community for the declaration phase. Mayotri Chand, the Tauvegavega women's representative, said that the ministerial visit inspired women to improve their lives.
"There are over 2625 people here and most of the women do household chores while some of them work at the garment factories and we strive to support our families," she said.
"The violence-free campaign is needed in Tauvegavega as there are women who are victimised by their husbands and in laws but they choose to keep silent as they don't know where to go for help. Now, there is going to be a revolution, women are determined to break the silence and work together with the ministry and police to ensure our sisters, daughters and mothers are free from violence."
Through their discussions with the minister, the Tauvegavega women secured $5000 to build a women's centre in the area.
About 60 communities have joined the campaign to eliminate violence against women and children.