FIJI: Close Watch on Reconciliation

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Fiji Times
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

The reconciliation process that is part of the Yellow Ribbon Project needs to be carefully scrutinized when dealing with perpetrators of rape and sexual abuse.

"I am a firm believer in forgiveness, however, the process of forgiving and reconciliation in the incidence where the crime of rape has occurred needs to be looked at in depth," said Shamima Ali of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.

Speaking at the Male advocacy for Women's Human Rights Training, Ms Ali said that the stigma attached to a victim of rape was an issue that needed careful consideration when trying to bring about reconciliation between victims and perpetrators.

"In a lot of cases, there is a lot of sympathy shown to rapists, especially from male members of the community, and the victim is treated with distrust and shunned from her immediate family and locality- these are grave issues that need to be addressed before any form of reconciliation can begin," Ms Ali said.

The human rights activist said that the broad blanket of reconciliation being championed by the Yellow Ribbon Project needed to be carefully considered when it came to crimes like rape and sexual abuse.