Speaker of Parliament, Doctor Jiko Luveni stressed that she does not condone violence against women and is also not blaming women for domestic violence cases.
Doctor Luveni has made this clear to Fijivillage after calls made by some women’s NGOs for the Speaker to apologize to the women in Fiji for saying that women should not aggravate the situation at home when they deal with their partners.
Doctor Luveni said she would never say that it is right for men to beat up women or children.
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre said it is appalled and alarmed at the statements made by Dr Jiko Luveni at a session at Rishikul Sanatan College yesterday.
Centre Coordinator, Shamima Ali said the women of the country who have died and those who struggle daily to survive domestic violence deserve an apology from the Speaker of Parliament for blaming them for the violence inflicted upon them and demeaning the experiences of survivors and victims.
Ali added that Dr Luveni’s remarks also downplays the 2013 Constitution which demands non‑discrimination and equal citizenry.
She is calling for a retraction and an apology from the Speaker for what she termed as insensitive and dangerous statements about the problem of violence against women.
Doctor Luveni said the full context of her presentation needs to be understood.
She said that she was focusing on how everyone can prevent domestic violence.
Doctor Luveni said the realities need to be understood and she is not blaming women for domestic violence.
Meanwhile the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement said there is never any justification or excuse for violence against women and girls.
FWRM Executive Director, Tara Chetty said they know from research and experience that violence against women has a very different cause – the decisions and actions of the perpetrator, enabled by widespread and deeply entrenched discrimination against women.
The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement calls on all duty bearers to speak out against violence without further marginalizing women and girls, particularly when addressing young people.
Chetty also said that in a recent survey conducted in the Asia Pacific region, 88% of young women felt that violence in the home was justified in some way.
She said young women and girls in Fiji experience terrible violence, from rape and beatings to sexual harassment.
Chetty said this is never their fault.
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