Editorial comment – Placing love on the highest pedestal

We are now at the tail end of the emotional ride that would have built up prior to Valentine’s Day on Friday.

For whatever it’s worth, the day would have inched out a sense of love and joy for couples.

It would have been an opportune time to engage in a bit of love and affection for some.

For others, it would have been an opportunity to renew commitments, renew vows perhaps, and maybe, to a certain extent, in some cases, perhaps rejuvenate love.

The Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA) did come up with a powerful message as well.

It called for a celebration of healthy, loving and safe relationships that were free from violence.

In a statement on Friday, ELFA said as Valentine’s Day was a reminder to appreciate significant people in our lives, it must also be a time to commit to fostering a safer, loving and decent environment for all Fijians without really living anyone behind.

This, it stated, unfortunately, was not a reality for many women and girls.

It stated global statistics reveal that one in three will be beaten or raped in her lifetime.

In Fiji, it pointed out, 64 per cent of women have experienced intimate partner violence according to a research by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC).

“Recent oppressive attitudes and push backs against women’s human rights in Fiji, the Pacific and around the world has given rise to disturbing and gross violations of women and girls’ bodies.”

The group said statistics were alarming with over 10 lives lost last year alone to domestic violence. Out of these, three were young women under the age of 25.

“Young women are at the forefront of this violence as they face double discrimination for their age and gender. Their bodies and attitudes face moral policing strengthened by gender roles, religious and cultural expectations. Victim blaming continues to be rife, further isolating and marginalising victims and survivors of violence, particularly those in unreported incidents.

“Now more than ever, young women are strengthening our demand for safe streets, homes and communities. It is time for change. ELFA calls on everyone to commit to ending violence against women and girls and promote a society that respects all human rights and dignity for all.”

It is important that we become part of the change in the bigger picture.

That means embracing the need for change, placing value on relationships and understanding and appreciating our partners for who they are.

It means engaging in dialogue when we hit a brickwall so to speak, and making a commitment to solve differences amicably.

It means placing love and affection, concern for one another, and appreciation of our partners on a very high pedestal.

We hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day and look forward to many more.

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