Villagers commit to zero violence tolerance

Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa with Nakawakawa Villagers following the delaration of the village as a Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community. Picture SUPPLIED

SIXTY per cent of married women in Fiji continue to be abused in their relationships, says Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

Speaking at the launch of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community program in Nakawakawa, Bua this week, Mrs Vuniwaqa said Fiji recorded the highest number of violence against women and children cases in the world.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said considering this dark reality, her ministry was now focused on eradicating any forms of violence against women and children.

Launching the program in Viani, Cakaudrove, Natua, Seaqaqa and Nakawakawa in Bua, Mrs Vuniwaqa lauded the foresight of community elders and villagers in acknowledging the declaration.

In Nakawakawa, Mrs Vuniwaqa said the topic of violence against women and children was normally shunned and hardly discussed.

“Villagers often hold the view that any quarrels or fights between couples are theirs alone and nobody’s business,” she said.

“However, this mentality needs to be changed because the safety of women and children in our communities is everybody’s business.

“We continue to record more cases of violence especially rape committed against children which is a serious concern.”

She told Nakawakawa villagers that the declaration they signed and the board that was launched in their village was a mere show of their commitment to the declaration.

“The truth will be evident when women and children are given the love and respect they deserve in their homes and their communities,” she said.

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