ASPIRING politician Roshika Deo says since declaring her interest to contest the 2014 General Election, she has been inundated with either direct requests or via someone to assist girls, boys and women in cases of violence, oppression or police inaction.
In an interview with this newspaper, Ms Deo said the requests were an indication that given the right space and structures, girls and women would speak out and break the culture of silence.
"We need enabling spaces, not spaces where, when a woman shares her experience of oppression people ridicule, attack, doubt and blame her," she said.
"This is the 'rape culture'. We need to change our culture to have real respect, humanity, care, understanding and kindness towards each other. We need policies and laws to be responsive to people's realities and experiences."
Ms Deo said she started community outreach to gather people's opinions and vision for Fiji.
She said she was also gathering data on the main areas of concern the people had and how they thought it could be improved.
She said her support base was primarily young people and women.
Support of Fijians
Ms Deo said personally having political support of the Fijian people was not important.
She said the active participation of Fijians in decisions that affected their daily lives were more important. Ms Deo said the young people and women needed to mobilise and re-define Fijian politics.
Ms Deo said some of the major issues people were sharing included violence against women, social welfare system and process, police services, education system, unemployment, children at risk, mental health, health care systems, rural development, environmental and resource extraction and micro enterprises such as market vendors and agriculture production.
She said accountability and transparency were also at the forefront.
Women AND youths
Ms Deo said young people would make up the majority of the voting block.
She said young people had a lot of power which they needed to be aware of.
Ms Deo said youths and women could also use the power they had to change the way of leadership in our country.
IF I WIN
Ms Deo said if she won a seat, she would create a Fiji where citizens would be active and empowered, a Fiji in which the government consulted its people and served them, where young people would want to remain instead of migrating, where being patriotic did not mean a coup but identifying problems and doing something about them, where young people and women were active citizens and free from oppression and margnalisation and where violence against women and children was substantively reduced.