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Call for end to violence

Vishaal Kumar
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A NATIONWIDE women's survey of those who accessed the formal justice system for violence or family law issues has revealed that 50 per cent of them wanted the violence to stop.

Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM) executive director Nalini Singh said their survey revealed that 55 per cent of women visited the police or the court to obtain a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO).

Ms Singh said it took women at an average 2.38 years or 868 days to get access to the police or court regarding their violence or family matter.

"Fifty per cent of the women who access the police or court and were surveyed simply wanted the violence to stop," Ms Singh said. "In our Grow, Inspire, Relate, Lead, Succeed program (GIRLS), the participants highlighted bullying and discrimination as a major issue of concern."

She said young women under the age of 30 were more likely to be sexually harassed in the workplace according to the 2016 Follow up Study on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

"Everyone needs to take this responsibility," Ms Singh said.

"Men and women need to be informed and empowered to ensure that they contribute to the welfare of all in the country."

She said the prevalence of sexual offences and gender-based violence was a product of existing institutionalised and systematic patriarchy within the society.

"Women and girls are restricted by rigid gender norms that are instilled by society from birth, limiting their participation in decision-making and enabling gender inequality," she said.

"As a result, women and girls tend to be blamed in situations of violence when they are perceived to have acted outside their gender roles or did not take enough effort to avoid being victims."

Ms Singh said men and the community as a whole needed to change their attitudes towards girls and women.

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