Speaker Dr Lu­veni stands by state­ment

Fiji Sun - - Playing For 29 Depart - ROSI DOVIVERATA

Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion Rosy Ak­bar says she is sad­dened by com­ments on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence by Speaker to Par­lia­ment, Dr Jiko Lu­veni. Dur­ing the Rishikul Sanatan Col­lege Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme held in Nas­inu on Tues­day, Dr Lu­veni said that women some­times ag­gra­vated a sit­u­a­tion of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. Ms Ak­bar said such com­ments were in­ap­pro­pri­ate. She re­it­er­ated that the min­istry did not tol­er­ate or con­done any form of vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren or any­one.

“I be­lieve there is never any ex­cuse against vi­o­lence.” She said vic­tim blam­ing at­ti­tude was a bar­rier that placed sur­vivors in great dan­ger.

“Vic­tim blam­ing at­ti­tude ac­tu­ally marginal­izes vic­tims. It makes it harder on them to come and re­port such cases of abuse be­cause as a sur­vivor or as a vic­tim you may feel that the so­ci­ety bla­tantly blames you for the abuse or the vi­o­lence that is in­flicted upon you.” She added that by en­gag­ing in vic­tim blam­ing at­ti­tude “we will only al­low the abuser to per­pe­trate re­la­tion­ship abuse while avoid­ing ac­count­abil­ity for his or her ac­tions.” Ms Ak­bar ac­knowl­edged that while Fiji may have one of the best laws to curb vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren, com­mu­nity lead­ers needed to work to­gether.

“We all need to work to­gether to see how best we can pro­tect – not only our women and girls but also our chil­dren, our el­derly, our dis­abled and all vul­ner­a­ble group.” Ms Ak­bar is de­ter­mined to con­tinue the fight with the as­sis­tance of en­force­ment agencies like Po­lice and civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions.

She is also call­ing on all stake­hold­ers to be re­spon­si­ble and to be mind­ful about what is said about an is­sue that is at the top of our na­tional pri­or­ity.

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