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Sex bias concerns

Mere Naleba
Friday, July 04, 2014

IT IS unacceptable for a woman to talk about sex, let alone negotiate safe sex practices.

And these are the demands expected of a woman in a cultural and religious setting, says Department of Women director Arieta Moceica.

In her opening address at a sexual reproductive health training for 30 women in Suva, Mrs Moceica said cultural and religious communities expected women to submit to their husband's demands without complaining.

"Cultural, traditional and religious biases have painted the picture that a good woman and worthy woman; a good devout Christian, Muslim or Hindu woman is one who blindly accepts what is done to her at the whim of the man in her life, in particular her husband," she said.

"Traditionally, the messages that girls were given from early childhood through teen years and into early adulthood were that their bodies were to one day bear children to prolong the family lineage of the family that she married into.

"Family planning was, therefore, not a woman's concern. It was a man's decision or that of his family to make because it was his family name that would be continued, not hers."

Methodist Church secretary for Communication Reverend James Bhagwan said they acknowledged that for far too long, people have misinterpreted scripture and used religion to justify their own stereotypical views.

"The Methodist pillar relating to family is focused towards a faith community where young people are empowered to practise chastity/abstinence; there is a celebration of virginity; an increase in young adult marriage in church (commitment to marriage versus living together); decreasing cases of adultery, domestic and gender-based violence and spousal rape; decrease in divorce cases; a strengthening of relationship within the family (parents/children) and the celebration of marriage as a commitment to life-long companionship," Mr Bhagwan said.

"The Methodist Church calls our members to recognise the divine intention of equality of relationship, and the need for partnership in marriage and the safe and nurturing upbringing of families."

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