Nik­isha Nisha to PM: We need harsher pe­nal­i­ties for rapists

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - SHRATIKA NAIDU Edited by Ranoba Baoa Feed­back: shratikan@fi­

While stu­dents her age are per­haps think­ing of the up­com­ing Coca-cola Games and the hype that awaits, Nik­isha Nisha thought of a much more se­ri­ous topic that con­tin­ues to rock our na­tion. The Year 13 stu­dent of Savusavu Sec­ondary School asked the Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama for a re­view on the max­i­mum sen­tence penalty for rape. Nik­isha met Mr Bain­i­marama when he vis­ited the school yes­ter­day. He en­cour­aged stu­dents to ex­er­cise their vot­ing rights in 2018 and also as­sessed dam­ages in the wake of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston. Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, Mr Bain­i­marama asked stu­dents to talk about things they wanted to see change in the na­tion. “You tell me what you want or what changes you hope to see in the fu­ture or what can be done,” the Prime Min­is­ter urged the stu­dents. Within sec­onds, Nik­isha stood up and told Mr Bain­i­marama that she was shaken by the nu­mer­ous rape in­ci­dences here. “The Fi­jian law on of­fend­ers who rape in­no­cent girls is le­nient and I hope the Gov­ern­ment can im­ple­ment harsher pun­ish­ment like death penalty,” Nik­isha said. Nik­isha claimed she had posted a let­ter on the Fi­jian Gov­ern­ment Face­book page giv­ing her opin­ion on what she felt about rape and what may be done. Mr Bain­i­marama said he would fol­low up on her re­quest. “I agree with Nik­isha that rape cases is in­creas­ing in Fiji and her re­quest for chang­ing the law is some­thing that must be looked into at a more deeper level,” Mr Bain­i­marama told the stu­dents. An emo­tional Nik­isha told Fiji

Sun she was prompted to speak on the topic as she was a vic­tim of sex­ual ha­rass­ment. “In 2012 while I was hav­ing my shower at home, one of my close fam­ily mem­bers was watch­ing me through a small open­ing on the wall,” Nik­isha said. “Although he is no longer stay­ing with us I still live with this mem­ory and when­ever I see him I can only cry. “My mother who al­ways reads the Bible has been en­cour­ag­ing me to pray to God and ask him to give me strength,” the sec­ond el­dest of four sib­lings said. “From that time I have been pray­ing to God to give me the op­por­tu­nity to talk to Mr Bain­i­marama face to face and ask him to change the law.”

Photo: Shratika Naidu

Savusavu Sec­ondary School Year 13 stu­dent Nik­isha Nisha talks with Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama at the school yes­ter­day.

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