Fiji has been progressive in putting in place policies, laws and support guarding against gender-based violence, but there is still more barriers to contend with including the implementation and enforcement aspect as well as cultural barriers and as such it is vital that everyone makes it their business, three of Fiji’s women’s rights groups reiterated on the eve of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.
Speaking at the launch of the movement in Fiji’s capital city Suva today, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Executive Director Nalini Singh and femLINKpacific’s Executive Director Susan Grey said more work needed to be done, highlighting findings by their respective organisations; FWCC’s research that 64 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime, FWRM’s research that shows that it takes an average of 868 days for women to report their issues and find justice through the formal justice sector, and findings by femLINKpacific through their rural networks such as a recent discussions in the North where young women called for safe spaces where they could convene, where they could talk about issues impacting them in their villagers, in their communities.
“Foremost the 16 Days of Activism as a campaign is highlighting that we must not be experiencing that type of behaviour at all. The home is supposed to be the safe space. Any why is it not. This is why we say, its everybody’s business, not just the organisations that work on this issue, that everyone must be coming together to say ‘that’s not acceptable’ so then the good things on paper that we have will materialise.
“We encourage everyone to participate. There are many ways to do it, by sharing information, we all have a responsibility to call out toxic masculinity. We need to promote gender equality, and we need to encourage women’s participation in all spaces where their voices are heard and their issues are addressed.
“We also demand accountability from our duty bearers to all the various international conventions that address this issue, that we are party to. There has to be accountability and there has to be accountability to the women and children of our country.
The three organisations have lined up media campaigns including materials that will be rolled out via their various social media platforms to commemorate the 16-day movement.
FWCC also has a number of regional events lined up with the UN Women including the launch of a standard counselling manual on gender-based violence for the region. On 6 December, it will mark the launch of the Warwick principles which outlines standards that men and boys working in gender-based violence spaces should abide by.
The FWRM has chosen to align themselves with the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership’s campaign theme which is spotlighting the violence that women face in their work places whilst femLINKpacific has meetings lined up in the West as well as a multi-media campaign.
On the final day of the 16 days of activism, on 10 December, which is also Human Rights Day, provided they acquire a permit, the NGO Coalition on Human Rights hopes to host a human rights picnic at My Suva Park.