Faith Reps Condemn Increase in Domestic Violence
Areligious leader has strongly condemned increasing cases of domestic violence in the country. Fiji Muslim League president Hafizud Khan said religious organisations provided counsel to men and women who sought their assistance to resolve domestic issues. “Men must have respect and tolerance,” Mr Khan said. “They need to remember that they come from their mothers, that they have sisters and daughters and so they must respect women.
“Women also must know that they cannot continue to be abused and they need to act quickly if they are being victimised.”
Speaking on the recent alleged murder cases where women were the victims, Mr Khan said there was a need to put restrain on the idea of murder or suicide.
“People see an incident and they think they can do it too so we must restrain this,” he said.
Mr Khan added the helping domestic violence victims also meant making them self-reliant.
“We run very strong social work programmes in terms of looking after women. We have girls’ hostels and we have a vocational centre where training is provided to women who were abused or are going through poverty or separation,” he said.
“We provide them with some form of professional development and training so they can go and earn for themselves. And it’s for all women, not only Muslims. “The idea is to make women have faith in themselves, that they can survive with or without men,” he added.
Mr Khan has also asked Government ministries to provide counselling training for religious organisations, social groups and even village heads.
“It’s not necessarily that just because you are a religious leader, you are qualified,” he said.
“We should have people who are able to relate to those seeking help and and interact at a level that they become confident enough to be guided by them.”
Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma
Men need to break free from the stigma that to discuss their problems is a weakness says Methodist Church’s secretary for communications and overseas mission Reverend Wilfred Regunamada.
He said men often did not discuss the problems at home because of the masculinity issue.
“They do not want to be seen as a weak person, so they do not share their problems with anyone, but it is eating them from within,” Reverend Regunamada said.
He made the remarks in response to the increasing cases of domestic violence and murder/suicide cases in Fiji. “If there are domestic issues, men should begin to seek help from their churches, get advice and counselling from faith-based organisations, elders or friends,” he said.
“It is difficult to handle anything alone. “Bravery and courage come when a man acknowledges the problems he is going through and seeks help. That is a healthy way of dealing with a problem or else it will just build-up inside and will become beyond control one day.” He has given the same advice to women.
“It is okay for women to seek help and it is okay for her to make a decision to flee from the situation she is in for the safety of her life,” he said.
“This is not a joke anymore. A woman leaving a husband was stigmatised before too but women need to realise their lives are important and within a relationship what comes first is self-care.
“When a person can look after themselves, then only will he/she have the capacity to look after another person. “If there is a sign of threat, go to the Police,” he added. Reverend Regunamada also revealed the Methodist Church had a women’s department looked after by a female minister where victims could seek help.
“Any domestic violence victim regardless of race or religion, if they would like to share what they are going through, get counselling, or to deal with post traumatic stress, they can always come to the Methodist church’s women’s department,” he urged.
All divisions have a women’s department within the church. He added there were more than 500 ministers all across the country that could also be approached for advice and counselling on domestic issues.