Fiji: The Many Faces of Violence against Women

Publication Date: 
December 7, 2010
FemLINK Pacific

FemLINK Pacific's 16 Days of Community Radio Campaign continues to serve as a platform for local women to speak out on issues that are connected to the annual women's human rights campaign which brings global attention to the many faces of violence, including the silence that is perpetuated because of political, institutional and social structures:

 “Women need to claim their space in the decision making areas in the community as most of the time women are told that their place is in the kitchen but we can do so much more” said Karolina, the President of the Dogoru Women’s Group who had travelled 15 kilometres to join the broadcast.

Women, she said, are too often told by their husbands not to speak out in the public or decision making spaces, and often tradition is used a tool to instil fear and silence: 

“Women do not participate because their husbands tell them not to, and most of the time women are threatened to be quiet about domestic issues that happen in the families,” Karolina added.

Vice President of the club, Asinate also highlighted the cultural barriers:  “In our tradition and culture, women have to be quiet and keep the peace in the family and community. We are always told that their place is in the kitchen, but we women do most of the things in the house, we manage the house, the children, the food and clothing of the family, then I want to ask why we can’t take part in decision making for the family and community.”

Another club member Torika emphasized that such cultural practices included controlling what women and girls wore, how women should conduct themselves, and the restrictions placed on women which limits their participation in any form of dialogue or decision making in the community:

“This issue of violence which comes in many different forms in a village or community makes women a victim in every way possible, not only at the domestic level but also at the structural levels of our society,” she said.

All 3 women leaders who participated in today’s broadcast called on other women to take a stand and take collective action not just to make chnages for women today - but for the young women and girls in their communities - the next generation of women.

FemLINK Pacific's "suitcase radio" broadcast team includes Kalpana Prasad (Community Media Officer), Sulueti Waqa (Technical Producer) and members of Generation Next Labasa. The daily programme for the continuation of the 16 days community radio campaign in Vanua Levu includes live interviews with rural women from femLINK Pacific's Labasa "1325" network and features produced by members of Generation Next in Suva and Nadi.