What more is needed to truly eliminate violence against all women and girls - Akbar

What more is needed to truly eliminate violence against all women and girls - Akbar

By Alipate Narawa
Saturday 26/11/2022
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar

It is the time to both celebrate and take pride in our collective achievements but to also ask ourselves, what more is needed to truly eliminate violence against all women and girls from the country.

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar highlighted this to kickstart the 16-Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence.

Akbar says this acts as a reminder to draw attention to the scope of gender-based violence globally, and in our country as well as the measures and efforts required to stop it before it starts.

The Minister says first, by honouring the victims and survivors of gender based violence, although words cannot restore their lives, she does hope that we can highlight their suffering and choose harmony and respectful relationship in our homes and community over violence.

She says to those survivors who would wish to share their story, access services, and ask for help, but are unable to do so due to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and trauma, she wants to tell them that they are not alone.

The Minister says people can be certain that there are service providers ready to help them get protection, health and medical care, counselling, access to justice, and continued safety and security.

She says by calling the Toll Free Helplines 1560 (for the Domestic Violence Helpline) and 1325 (for the Child Helpline) from any location, you can freely seek assistance from qualified professionals and receive pertinent support.

Akbar says it saddens her to say that two of every three women in Fiji have experienced physical or sexual violence from a male intimate partner in their lifetime.

She says one in five women have experienced sexual harassment in a workplace.

The Minister says one in three women in Fiji have experienced physical or sexual violence from a man who is not their partner and while Fijian women and girls bear the brunt of the violence, the social, economic, physical, and psychological and health costs cut more broadly across our society, ultimately harming everyone.

Akbar says this is unacceptable.

She says the Government of Fiji recognizes its obligation to prevent violence against women and girls.

Akbar says she is pleased to highlight that the Ministry facilitated the development of the Fiji National Action to Prevent Violence against all women and girls in working closely with all relevant stakeholders in particular civil society organizations.

She says the Fiji NAP focuses on preventing domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women and girls with a whole of government, whole of population approach.

The Minister says it is expected to influence social norms, promote community leadership and set a much stronger culture of equal and respectful relationships between Fijian men and women, boys and girls.

The Fiji NAP (2023-2028) is completed and expected to be launched in early 2023.

Akbar says global evidence confirms that we can collectively prevent violence against all women and girls and it requires the collective efforts, leadership and commitment as a nation to advance the goal of gender equality.

Akbar says this would be the best tribute to survivors, survivor advocates and service providers that we are commemorating today.

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