Ending violence against women/girls should be a 365-day commitment: FWCC

Recording nearly 700 cases of violence against women and girls in a month signals the need to step up efforts to ending violence against women and girls, with Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali calling for for an all-around 365-day a year effort as the 16 days of activism campaign concludes today.

In November alone, the FWCC received 669 domestic violence cases, five rape cases, six attempted rape cases, two child sexual abuse cases, three child rape cases, six child physical/verbal/emotional abuse cases and five sexual harassment cases.

Describing the figures as alarming, Ali said it would get even worse if people do not work together in the fight to eliminate violence against women and girls.

She also attributed the increase in the number of reported cases in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures, expressing concerns about the welfare of women and girls should Fiji’s third wave of the virus is severe to prompt further lockdowns, a scenario she says amplifies the need for everyone to stop being a bystander when they encounter incidents where a woman or a girl is subjected to violence and/or abuse.

“Let’s continue our efforts all year round from 16 to 365 days of activism, to advance the human rights of women, lets show our firmest condemnation to all forms of discrimination and violence against women – an unacceptable phenomenon and a serious impediment to the achievement of gender equality in Fiji,” Ali said.

Thanking those who participated in the campaign this year and showed interest and commitment to stand up and demand for an end to this terrible ‘parallel pandemic’, Ali said it was encouraging to see government, stakeholders, individuals and the community at large galvanise their support towards the cause.

She said as a nation, the protection and promotion of women’s rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as the fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against women, girls and children should become a key priority as we progress into the new year.

For women and girls who need help and/or counselling, FWCC counsellors are available via the numbers below:

Domestic Violence Helpline Number: 1560

Phone: 3313300 (24 hours)

Mobile: 9209470 (24 Hours)

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