Teachers are in a very vital position to recognize child sexual abuse and they must do the referrals to relevant authorities.
This has been highlighted by Fiji Women's Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali while speaking at the Fiji Teachers Union International Women's Day celebration in Labasa where she says child sexual abuse is high and a lot of children are being sexually abused by their own relatives.
Ali says according to their statistics, from 2016 to 2022 about 96 percent of the perpetrators were known to the child survivor.
She says of the 96 percent, 76 percent were very close relatives.
Ali has also asked the FTU if they have lobbied to the Ministry of Education to have a sexual harassment policy, does everyone know about it and do they have a domestic violence policy.
She says teachers suffering domestic violence have been coming to them over the years and have been saying to them that when they are away from school because of the injury, they get punished for it.
She says people do not recognise domestic violence as an issue, and we need to do that and also hold the perpetrators accountable.
Ali is urging them to push for domestic violence policies.
We have sent questions to the Minister for Education.
He is yet to respond.
The FWCC Coordinator further says there is so much backlash when women try and achieve something and she is a case in point.
She says at the age of 70 she still gets sworn at and is a target of horrible sexual jokes and comments but she needs to brush it off and keep working.
Ali further says to encourage young women’s leadership, they need strong feminist leadership and collective action and women have to work together in solidarity and sisterhood.
She says women do not have to like each other but they must stand up for each other, realise what the issues are, why women are not doing so well, why is there no equity and that should bind them together because no woman is free unless all women are free.
Ali says women have to be empowered themselves and empowerment is realising what is wrong and doing something about it and it is also about high self-esteem and a lot of confidence.
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