Fiji PM talks against GBV while some MPs blame women

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre welcomes remarks by PM following extraordinary statements on GBV in parliament:

The Fiji Women’s Crisis welcomes the statement on violence against women by the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey overnight.

FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali said: “We welcome Bainimarama’s statement on this global platform because it sends a strong message that violence against women will not be condoned.

“Violence against women and children in recent years has prompted national soul-searching and it is vital that our leaders speak out against the problem and also debunk the myths surrounding the dynamics of gender-based violence.

“The statement by the Prime Minister in Istanbul is confirmation that violence against women is an issue the government is serious about tackling.

“Mr Bainimarama rightly pointed out that the onus is never on a woman not to provoke her partner’s temper to avoid domestic violence. Nor should a woman be blamed for her rape because of what she was wearing.”

Mr Bainimarama stated that such thinking “provides men with an excuse to justify the unjustifiable and women to accept the unacceptable.”

Bainimarama’s comments come at a time when two national leaders in the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Jiko Luveni and a senior official of the Methodist Church, Reverend Iliesa Naivalu, have made statements that effectively put the blame on women for provoking their partners’ violence and for arousing men to rape because of how they dress and questioning whether women can “go and drink alcohol with men in the bushes.”

These archaic ideas surrounding violence against women have been shown to be false by global research, including the FWCC’s own major study titled ‘Somebody’s Life, Everybody’s Business’, which puts the spotlight on how prevalent, varied and widespread violence against women is across Fiji.

Last week, when the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Luveni was reported as saying that women should not provoke their husbands into violence, the local mainstream media largely ignored reporting the FWCC’s rebuttal about the dynamics of violence, including the statistics from the national survey, which clearly shows how massive the problem is.