FIJI: Increase in Physical and Sexual Abuse

Saturday, February 5, 2011
Fiji Times
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

There are serious concerns about the increase in the number of domestic violence, rape, child abuse and sexual harassment cases.

Statistics from the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre show more than 10,000 such cases were reported to the centre over the past 10 years.

There were 379 rape cases, 8632 domestic violence cases, 318 sexual harassment and 690 cases of child abuse.

The centre's Suva office received the largest number of domestic violence complaints over the past decade with 4862 cases followed by the Ba centre with 1490.

Rape case records also show that Suva recorded the highest number with 222 cases out of the total 379 reported cases from all the four centres in Suva, Nadi, Ba and Labasa.

Co-ordinator Shamima Ali said the most challenging part for the centre was the ingrained attitude and thinking towards women and girls.

Ms Ali said another challenge was women's access to justice.

"There is still a 'blame the woman' syndrome which persists among our people," she said.

"There is also the acceptance of violence against women in the home.

"Blaming women for rape - their dress, behaviour etc is a great obstacle to preventing sexual assault."