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Fiji Time: 4:35 PM on Monday 21 April

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Gender justice training

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

EMPOWER Pacific counsellors were part of a one day workshop focused on the Crimes Decree and how women and children can be protected from violence.

Participants at the workshop on Monday discussed issues involving child welfare, the Family Law Act, and women and law.

Former high court judge Nazhat Shameem said the workshop was the second of its kind for Empower Pacific that focused on the Crimes Decree, and women and the law which centred on gender justice.

"Gender justice is not just about the laws that affect women, it's not just about the written laws but also the unwritten laws," Ms Shameem said.

She said gender justice was trying to understand why a woman who was being physically abused by her husband for so many years does not report being abused and the matter is only known when she is admitted in the hospital from injuries she sustained during the abuse.

"And that means understanding our cultures, our religions, the way our society has expectations of women, the way we have been brought up.

"There are stereotypes of women in people's mind, which affects the way we are able to access basic services.

"Gender justice is about understanding the laws and the reality of women's lives".

Ms Shameem said the increasing number of domestic violence cases being reported confirmed that people were aware of places where they could go for help.

"It's because of the work of women advocates which is to increase knowledge of these cases that there are reported cases.

"In fact, the more cases of child abuse that has been reported and the more reported cases of domestic violence and rape, the more successful we are.

"Because the problem with these cases is that these abused women don't say anything, they hide it and in hiding it, it perpetrates more — it makes it worse".