‘Violence against women, girls a national crisis’

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa speaking at the launch of the national action plan on the prevention of violence of Women and Girls. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FT FILE

VIOLENCE against women and girls in Fiji is a national crisis, says Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the prevalence of violence against women in Fiji was the highest in the world.

“With almost two out of three (64 per cent) women who have been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime — double the global average (which is one out of three women) and most cases are perpetrated by an intimate partner,” she said while speaking at a press conference on the Fiji National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls.

“Violence against women and girls in Fiji is a national crisis.”

She reiterated the need to not only acknowledge the painful stories behind these statics, but to recognise that there were attitudes embedded in gender inequality, discrimination and patriarchy.

“The more we conform to gender stereotypes — masculine: strong, assertive and powerful; and feminine: submissive, pretty and weak — the conditions remain ripe for Fijian men and boys to exert power and control over women and girls.

“The ministry would lead the development of the five-year national action plan to prevent violence against women and girls.”

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