Rural Fiji women at heightened risk of abuse, says survey

Updated at 5:19 pm on 1 February 2013

A national survey in Fiji on the prevalence of violence against women in relationships shows that women in rural areas are more at risk of being abused than others.

The survey was carried out by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, which interviewed more than 3,000 women over two years, from rural and urban areas in all four divisions in Fiji.

The research found 64 percent of women experience either physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and the violence is often severe, like being kicked or dragged and beaten, choked or burnt.

The Crisis Centre's deputy coordinator, Edwina Kotoisuva, says it found that rates of emotional, physical and sexual violence are higher in rural areas due to lack of access to services.

But she says there are other risk factors too.

"If she was sexually abused over the age of 15 years, or if she has three or more children or her mother was hit, that's a risk factor. But also we're looking at his background if he fights with other men, or if he was hit as a child, or he drinks alcohol weekly or daily, then it increased the risk of her experiencing physical or sexual violence in her lifetime."

Edwina Kotoisuva of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.

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