Ali: Cover-ups in many rape cases

Senior welfare offi cer Clermont Dare shares his views during the dialogue on engaging men in the prevention of violence at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka on Monday, December 6, 2021. Picture: SITERI SAUVAKACOLO

There are huge cover-ups in many rape cases because the perpetrators are known to the victims and are people they trust in life.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali shared this with 25 male advocates who were part of a dialogue on engaging men to end violence against women and girls at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka yesterday.

“We often hide perpetrators who are known to survivors and these are people that we trust around us – uncles, boyfriends, employers, teachers, traditional leaders,” she said.

“If it’s a family member – more cover-up, don’t bring shame to the family so we protect the perpetrator and we are not worried about the person who has been raped.”

Ms Ali said in some cases, women victims would always cop the blame and it was sad to also note that rapes happened in women’s own homes.

She reminded participants that their work as male advocates was crucial in the fight against violence and rape.

“The highest assault cases in the past years are in a home, not two men beating up each other.

“Women reporting assaults from their partners, boyfriends, men in their families and so on, that is why we are gathered here and we are looking at prevention and how do we move forward.”

The male advocates consisted of retired police officers, former school teachers, village headmen and district representatives.

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