PR05/2014

Friday May 16, 2014

PRESS RELEASE - Luveni, please get your facts straight

Minister for Women Jiko Luveni comments in today’s Fiji Sun has moved the focus of rape away from the rapist and aimed it directly at the victim.

Luveni's comments insinuate that rape victims are to blame for the violent crime because they were not dressed modestly.

Why should Luveni’s comment make us all angry?

Firstly it shames and further violates against the already victimized individuals rather than denouncing the aggressive actions of rape and the rapists.

Secondly it is an insult to men because it assumes that ALL men are rapists because they cannot control their sexual urges and will rape women if they are not dressed modestly.

Comments such as these from nationally prominent figures need to be based on credible evidence and not on wild accusations without hard data to back them up.

According to the World Health Organisation report[1], the global lifetime prevalence of non-partner sexual violence is 7.2%.  What is also really revealing is the hard data from countries in which women dress very conservatively  - the sexual assault data still shows comparable rates of sexual assault. For example WHO data records Bangladesh at 49% in the provinces for rape/sexual assault, 37% in the cities and 18% nationally, Tajikistan at 42%, and Turkey at 15%.

In these regions women are strongly encouraged to dress and behave conservatively. For example, they are encouraged to wear loose fitting clothing that covers themselves from head to toe and many are discouraged from going out in public without a male relative.

This data illustrates that that asking women and girls to change their behavior and dress, is not going to protect them from sexual violence. Tragically it is comments such as what was printed in today’s Fiji Sun that lead to the entrenchment of mainstream thinking that women are at fault for being raped rather than on the real criminals, men who rape women.

What can we do to show our outrage? Write letters to Frank Bainimarama - asking for Jiko Luveni’s resignation as minister of women and the President of his proposed “Fiji First Party".

For any other information or queries please contact FWRM on 331 2711 / 8677330 or email  

ENDS.

 


[1] World Health Organisation, Global and regional estimates of violence against women:  prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, 2013