23 Oct 2013

Anti-violence message filtering down in Vanuatu

9:01 pm on 23 October 2013

The head of the Vanuatu Women's Centre, Merilyn Tahi, says the anti-violence message is filtering down even to the staunch communities on the island of Tanna.

The Women's Centre has been running a men advocacy programme in Vanuatu for almost a decade and Ms Tahi says the advocates go in like soldiers to fight when they sit down and talk with male community leaders.

But she says Tanna's Nikoletan Council of Chiefs has welcomed them back to the island to spread the message further after a week long workshop with the leaders in August.

"Tanna Island is one that people fear because they think that men are agressive but we went there and we talked about gender, domestic violence, sexual assaults and they now have said, OK the island is open, you can come in any time you want. Come into our communities."

Merilyn Tahi says often Christianity is used as an excuse for male domination but the advocates also use Christian messages in their efforts to change attitudes.