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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

07 May 2024

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Themes

One More Woman Murdered: How Many More Lives Will Gender-Based Violence Claim?

2/11/2023

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) is asking Fijian society today, how many more women must be murdered by their partners and spouses before we put an end to gender-based violence? 

“Violence against women and girls is always a choice. People choose to be violent towards women and girls because of patriarchy, which is all about unequal gender relations. This inequality exists because of how we, as a society value, or devalue women and girls,” said FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh.

FWRM is also calling out the mainstream media in Fiji for its inability in calling out murder when it happens, especially when it is a domestic violence related murder. No, it is not a “serious assault” or arising from a “heated argument”, it is MURDER, plain and simple. There is no other word for when someone is killed in the safety of their own home, and in the presence of children who were also witnessing these horrific levels of violence. 

Instead of highlighting wrongful actions of the perpetrator the media has been fixated with inadvertently victim-blaming by reporting reasons as to why the victim was killed. This kind of reporting deviates from the real issue at hand - which is Fiji’s very high levels of domestic violence being experienced by women. Murder of women by their spouses/partners is never justified. And it must stop now. 

“The death of Kelera Sivo and countless others must not go in vain, and every time a woman is killed at the hands of their loved one, the entire country (including the media) should stand up and fight against domestic violence. Choosing to remain silent or minimising the trauma should not be an option,” Ms Singh said.

Women face so many barriers when accessing justice, including cost of going to the police or courts, overcoming stigma associated with trying to seek justice with the violence that they face every day, and discrimination when they attempt to access services. The media in its current style of reporting does not help the situation at all.

Given that Fiji has just launched the National Plan for the Prevention of Violence Against All Women and Girls (NAPVAWG), being only the second country in the world to do so, now more than ever there is an urgent need to work across all of government and across all of society to challenge attitudes and perceptions of why gender-based violence occurs in these horrific ways. Fiji is also heading into the festive season, which we know has the propensity to escalate violence in the home and in relationships. The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement calls on the State, media and all of society to demand a safe Fiji for ALL women and girls, free from violence from our loved ones. 

Ends

For media queries please contact our FWRM Communications Officer Serelisoni Moceica on 8677330 or email