The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is again appalled at the statistics of rape and sexual violence released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for the month of June, and asks are we as a nation not ashamed of such statistics.
55 counts of serious sex offences were reported by the Office of the DPP for June.
The FWRM says every month and year, horrifying statistics of rape and sexual violence are published by the Office of the DPP and despite the advocacy for calls to protect and ensure the safety of our women and girls, the data indicates the society’s lax attitudes towards sexual crimes with the continued high rates of rape against this vulnerable group, especially girls.
FWRM's analysis of trends of rape cases and sexual violence cases against women and girls also conclude that in every year from 2016 to 2022, except 2017, more than 50 percent of such cases finalised in the High Court fall under the age of 18 years.
The ages of the youngest victims each year continues to be under 5 years.
FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh says this is disturbing and shameful.
Singh asks what are we doing about this, and who is to blame as this tragic situation of sexual crimes, perpetrated by grandfathers, fathers, uncles, cousins, etc means that we are a long way away from ensuring safe homes and spaces for our young girls. Singh says the gravity of these statistics and the severity of violence in our society is largely ignored and we need to start seeing who the real perpetrators are and what needs to be done to change mindsets and attitudes for the sake of our women and girls.
FWRM also urges people to move away from the common patriarchal perspective that mothers are to blame for "failing to teach their daughters".
Singh says this common misconception apart from re-emphasising gender roles, also serves to remove accountability of perpetrators and shift the responsibility away from others to provide a safe environment for us all.
She says the onus to protect our children and women should not just be on our mothers, or women's rights groups or the formal justice sector agencies but the urgency is on everyone to do their part.
Singh says let us learn to call out behaviour that perpetuates rape and violence, misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, victim blaming, trivialising sexual crimes, tolerating sexual harassment – all these help to create a society that disregards women’s and girls' safety.
She says it is not the time to police women and girls but to ensure that our men and boys know that such acts are totally unacceptable.
FWRM offers Gender Sensitisation training for groups and communities to learn about gender norms and roles, harmful gender stereotypes and biasness that impact women and girls.
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