Agents of change

FORTY men from Nairukuruku Village in Naitasiri rounded up a four-day male advocacy training program facilitated by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) yesterday.

FWCC counsellor and program conductor Lavenia Tuitabu said it was important to empower men to address violence against women and be the agent of change.

“Men are trained to stop sexist behaviour towards women. Men are often seen as perpetrators and if we educate them to change their attitude, we can achieve a lot,” Ms Tuitabu said in a statement from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.

“It was encouraging to see in the last day men changing their mind-sets towards women and understanding the important role they play in the society.”

Village chief Ratu Jese Ranatuinavono said he was inspired to include women empowerment activities in his action plan for the village.

Ratu Jese said inequality and domestic violence were major problems in the village.

“Women in the village are seen as those who belong in the kitchen. That has been the tradition here and I want to change it. I want women to be equal and looked after well by men,” he said.

Village priest Kakia Rabaua said the training was an eye-opener for him.

Mr Rabaua included that his role in the village enabled him to reach out to fellow villagers and create awareness on violence against women in his church services. The training was done in partnership with the Naitasiri Rural Women’s Association and participants included senior citizens, chiefs and youths.

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