PM: Bulitavu’s comments an insult to women

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama . Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

DOMESTIC violence is not some new phenomena, nor was it brought to Fiji by any group, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He said domestic violence was rather an issue that was and had always been a direct result of patriarchal mindsets that saw women as inferior and as objects to be abused at will.

Mr Bainimarama made the comments in response to a social media posting by Opposition MP Mosese Bulitavu claiming that murder and stabbing in the past were only done by Fijians who were descendants of the indentured labourers from British India and was never part of Fijians who were iTaukei.

He further stated that indigenous Fijians were now sharing some “itovo vulagi” (foreign behaviour).

Mr Bulitavu said the iTaukei would never commit such acts especially when a couple was in love.

He said a certain protocol was usually followed as a means of showing respect. Mr Bainimarama said Mr Bulitavu’s comments were an insult to the women of Fiji on two fronts.

“He’s not only showing his ignorance by putting forward harmful and dishonest ethnic stereotypes, which are racist. But behind his statements lurks a deeply-seeded and deadly patriarchal mentality,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said men did not commit abuse because they were of a certain ethnicity or because they may be bigger or stronger.

But men committed abuse because they were small-minded and weak.

“By hiding behind racist stereotypes rather than calling out the individuals who make the horrific choice to abuse their partners, Bulitavu has proven himself small-minded as well.”

National Federation Party leader professor Biman Prasad described Mr Bulitavu’s comments as demeaning towards Fijian women of Indian descent.

“He should hang his head in shame and publicly apologise to all women whose morality, character and credibility he has attacked,” he said.

“Racial slurs and malicious attacks have no place in our society.”

Fiji Labour Party assistant general secretary Aman Ravindra-Singh said: “Mosese Bulitavu’s comments are offensive, baseless, lacks foundation and out of touch with reality. These types of comments only awaken racial tension and creates suspicion and division within our society.”

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) president Ro Filipe Tuisawau has publicly apologised about Mr Bulitavu’s comments.

He said after receiving an explanation from Mr Bulitavu, he ordered him to put his post down and apologise to the nation and those he had offended.

Mr Bulitavu said, “I apologise unreservedly to those who have been offended by many comments in particular to the women of Fiji and also the Indo-Fijian community.”

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