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No end to abuse

Nasik Swami
Monday, February 10, 2014

A TOTAL of 1183 women were victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment last year compared with 1044 the year before.

And the trend has not stopped, says the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.

Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said women continued to seek assistance from the centre on a daily basis.

"There were 45 cases of rape compared to 36 in 2012, 45 cases of sexual harassment compared to 30 the previous year and 566 other cases compared to 645 for 2012," she said.

"In total, there were 1905 new cases that the centre and its branches dealt with in 2013."

Ms Ali said while recent figures appeared to be an alarming increase over the past 30 years, it was important to understand the statistics and interpret them correctly.

"Many people and even some media outlets continue to report that there is a rise in cases of domestic violence and related cases in the country.

"This is not true.

"Figuratively yes, numbers have gone up but I've said this time and again, cases have been there, it's only now that women are bold enough to come forward and report what's being done to them.

"If you look at our national survey that was released last December, you will find that many women even prefer not to report these cases because they fear victimisation and for some, they've even accept beatings as normal."