Women’s human rights groups have stated that they are disgusted and appalled at the misogynistic attacks made by Kishore Kumar on social media against female members of Parliament and strongly condemn this act of violence and cyber-bullying.
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, femLINKpacific and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement are calling for investigations from the relevant authorities, including the Fiji Police Force, the Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission and the Online Safety Commission.
Crisis Centre Coordinator, Shamima Ali says the Online Safety Commission should not sit silently when these crimes continue to happen almost on a daily basis. Ali says raising awareness about cyberbullying is one thing, but the enforcement of the law is equally important.
Ali says the silence is deafening from women MPs from both sides of the House.
She says this is when solidarity is important.
The women’s groups say the social media commentator on his Facebook page, Kishore Kumar Publications, has made several public videos vilifying and defaming female members of parliament.
They say the public posts contain abusive and sexually derogatory remarks against certain women members of parliament.
The groups call for urgent action to condemn all forms of violence and discrimination against women and address the disturbing series of attacks from Kumar.
Shamima Ali says this is often how men discourage, deter and malign younger women and women in all their diversities from political participation and national discussions at all levels.
Ali says such comments on an open public platform are not only detrimental for women but pose great risks to their safety and national participation.
She says this is a great example of cyberbullying, harassment and hate speech.
femLINKpacific Executive Director, Susan Naisara Grey says this repeated and targeted acts of psychological violence including character attacks, cyberbullying and harassment, on Lenora Qereqeretabua and other female members of Parliament, must also be condemned by all parties and the State, with further action to be taken.
Grey says they condemn the violence, which includes all forms of aggression, coercion and intimidation against women as political actors, which is one of the most serious hurdles to women’s full and equal political participation.
FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh says there must be no impunity for violence against women, including within the cyber and virtual space.
Singh says it is unacceptable that Kishore Kumar is allowed to continue making targeted sexist attacks that are discriminatory, abusive and defamatory against women and there have been no repercussions for his action.
She says violence against women is a non-partisan issue and whichever woman he targets, whether a government MP or a member of the opposition, it must be condemned and there must be justice.
Singh says it is equally disturbing to note that Kumar is a high school teacher and that he is allowed into classrooms despite his unethical and misogynistic behaviour.
She says there must be better standards set by the Ministry of Education for educators as they play such a significant role for young people and children.
Police confirm the CID Unit is investigating the complaint filed against Kishore Kumar by Qereqeretabua.
Education Minister, Rosy Akbar has also confirmed that the Human Resources Department is investigating the complaint filed against Kumar by the NFP Youth General Secretary.
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