Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator, Shamima Ali has called on the Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete to do better and not make misogynistic comments on Twitter.
Ali says in a Father's Day tweet today, the Health Minister said at the Ministry of Health women shine because of the fortitude, humbleness, wisdom and compassion of our men.
The Crisis Centre Coordinator says they would like to tell the Health Minister that women shine despite the men and against all odds.
Ali says women have the ability to determine their own choices and do not need the approval of men.
She says misogynistic comments like this are not helpful especially in a country like Fiji that has an average rate of 64 percent of women who have been in an intimate relationship resulting in physical and sexual violence.
Ali says the Health Minister should know that structural barriers, patriarchy and discriminatory social norms continue to constrain women’s decision-making powers and participation in society.
She says the tweet by the Health Minister does not help provide a safe space for women, girls and children especially with the shocking child abuse cases in this country.
Alo says he should know that from January to July this year the FWCC and its branches received 66 child rape and child sexual abuse cases.
The FWCC says the statistics on child rape show that 96 percent of perpetrators are known to the survivors and 76 percent of that are close male relatives like fathers and grandfathers etc.
Ali also says let us also not forget the many women who have not been able to exercise their basic human right to choose - be it career, education, friends, number of children to have and the list goes on.
She says there is no doubt there are men who are wonderful fathers and husbands but these are exceptions rather than the rule.
Ali says the good doctors own experiences in his profession and outside of it should help him make informed statements rather than harmful misogynistic sweeping statements that encourage harmful behaviors.
She hopes the good human being fathers had a wonderful day.
Ali says just to inform you all the toll free domestic violence line was busy as usual.
She says if you all want to learn more about this issue and do your part in promoting women’s human rights, please call them.
We sought comments from Doctor Waqainabete.
He is yet to respond.
However his tweet now reads : Happy Father’s Day Champs. Thanks for being good role models for your families and having fortitude, wisdom and stamina during these difficult times.
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