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Fiji Time: 11:35 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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'Involve women'

Avinesh Gopal
Thursday, December 12, 2013

THE People's Democratic Party believes that women can articulate laws that deal with violence against them if they are more involved in decision-making.

PDP's interim president Adi Sivia Qoro said, "the environment we live in is conducive to such things (domestic violence)".

Adi Sivia was commenting on reports that Fiji scored one of the highest rates of physical and/or sexual partner violence over a woman's lifetime when compared with 20 countries around the world which have used the same World Health Organization methodology calculation.

"The statistics are endemic right throughout. It is not only in Fiji but in the Pacific too," she said.

"Women will not be able to realise their full potential in the kind of environment they live in.

"When we get more women in decision-making, then they can articulate laws to deal with such issues.

"It is something that has to be addressed. These women are our mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters."

Adi Sivia said women needed to be given the opportunity to show their full potential, adding they have a role in economic and political participation.

She said if women were left in the situation they were in, then they would not be able to use their full potential and the nation would not benefit.

"There has to be a concerted effort. Men can articulate and stand up against these issues like violence against women," she said.

Adi Sivia reiterated as far as the PDP was concerned, its policies encouraged the membership of 30 per cent women and women representation in parliament.

The National Report on Women which was launched on Monday documented emotional, physical and sexual violence tendencies based on a sample population of 3193 women.

While launching the report, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre's executive director Shamima Ali said, "of all the countries where the methodology has been followed, Fiji is quite high-on the higher end at about fourth, so it's really quite high".

"Intimate partner violence is extremely high in Melanesia, although the highest prevalence is in Kiribati with 68 per cent of women experiencing physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

"Current rates of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence are also extremely high in all Pacific countries, particularly in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Fiji," said Ms Ali.

The report claimed intimate partner violence affects about two in every three women in Fiji.