3 Dec 2009

Gender violence campaign essential says Fiji women's shelter

2:43 pm on 3 December 2009

A researcher at a shelter for single mothers and their children in Fiji says an international campaign against gender violence in which it's participating is essential to raising awareness of the issue in her country.

Shekinah Ralulu of Home for Hope says abuse of women is rife in both Fijian and Indo Fijian culture, with 80 percent of the women in the shelter victims of partner or parental abuse.

She says the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence that's been running since the 25th of November gives women's organisations a platform on which to run workshops and other educational programmes.

"What Fiji Women's Crisis Centre is doing with their male advocacy, we're actually seeing some really positive results from that. We're seeing a lot of men start to take ownership of their reactions and start to realise that what they've done is wrong. It's just a general lack of education, men don't realise that it's wrong to hit a child and that it's wrong to hit a woman and when they do realise that they really seem repentant and they really do change."

Shekinah Ralulu says education will also encourage women to stand up to their abusers.

The campaign finishes a week from today and a new Domestic Violence decree comes into force early next year.