Phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment not so­lu­tion to stop­ping vi­o­la­tion of vil­lage by-laws

The an­swer lies in chang­ing the mind­set through ed­u­ca­tion, gen­tle per­sua­sion, love un­feigned and with­out hypocrisy or guile.

Fiji Sun - - EXPLAINER - Ne­mani De­laibatiki Edited by Naisa Koroi Feed­back: ne­­laibatiki@fi­jisun.

Those who are ad­vo­cat­ing the use of phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment to stop vi­o­la­tion of vil­lage by-laws are liv­ing in a time warp. The use of vi­o­lence, like whack­ing of a fe­male wear­ing shorts in­stead of a long dress or skirt to be­low the knee, is pre­pos­ter­ous.

The prac­tice is bar­baric, un­law­ful and out of kil­ter with the norms of the 21st Cen­tury.

As a means to in­stil dis­ci­pline it is a tem­po­rary fix, but it does not com­pletely solve the prob­lem.

The long-term so­lu­tion to achieve com­pli­ance, ob­ser­vance and re­spect of vil­lage by-laws is through ed­u­ca­tion, gen­tle per­sua­sion, meek­ness, love un­feigned - with­out hypocrisy and guile.

And this must be­gin in the home and com­mu­nity.

If peo­ple are well in­formed and taught, they will ob­serve the vil­lage pro­to­cols, in­clud­ing visi­tors par­tic­u­larly for­eign­ers and strangers. Many re­spect the by-laws. There are only a few who choose to vi­o­late them.

Of course there are rebels be­cause we live in an im­per­fect world.

The break­down of law and or­der in vil­lages is part of a big­ger prob­lem – the clash of cul­tures – our tra­di­tional cul­ture and the for­eign cul­ture.

In many vil­lages, al­co­hol is banned be­cause of its im­pact on peace and or­der and on fam­i­lies. There are many ex­am­ples of so­cial drink­ing in groups end­ing is tragedies. It is a known fact that some vil­lagers qui­etly drink in their own homes with­out any in­ci­dent. Should there be a blan­ket ban on al­co­hol?

Some will ar­gue that’s a vi­o­la­tion of their ba­sic hu­man right to choose what they drink in their own home, as long as they keep the peace and do not bother other vil­lagers.

Al­co­hol and dress stan­dards are top on the list of by-laws that are often talked about. This is be­cause they are re­garded as a threat to the peace and tran­quil­lity in the vil­lages.

When women are scant­ily dressed, they cause un­nec­es­sary at­ten­tion and cause males to com­mit sex­ual of­fences, that’s the ridicu­lous ra­tio­nale be­hind the dress code.

What about promis­cu­ity? The vil­lage by-laws do not ban it be­cause they have no con­trol over it. Teenage preg­nan­cies and women bear­ing chil­dren out of wed­lock are no longer a big deal al­though more and more cases of child abuse, in­cest and rape are be­ing re­ported to Police and end­ing up in court.

The in­flu­ence of pop­u­lar cul­ture, in­ter­net, videos, mu­sic and movies has had a mas­sive im­pact on vil­lage life.

The by-laws are in­ad­e­quate to deal with all the chal­lenges. And the kind of pun­ish­ment pushed by some to deal with them.

What is needed is that we need to teach our peo­ple the truth and that is ev­ery de­ci­sion or ac­tion they take has a con­se­quence, good and bad. If they choose good and right the con­se­quences will be good. If they choose the op­po­site the con­se­quences will be bad. It’s as sim­ple as that. If they want to grow, pros­per and be happy then they need to be good and choose the right. Our cul­tures teach many of these prin­ci­ples and val­ues.

Once we em­power the peo­ple with knowl­edge and wis­dom, we re­duce the risks of them fall­ing vic­tims to a false sense of se­cu­rity and hap­pi­ness by en­gag­ing them­selves in im­moral ac­tiv­i­ties. Hav­ing said that we must recog­nise that no one is per­fect and will make mis­takes from time to time.

The im­por­tant thing is we learn from the mis­takes and make sure we do not re­peat them. That will cone – not by us­ing the stick, but teach­ing with love and un­der­stand­ing.

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