Violence against women and children can become a real hindrance to economic development of our
country, says the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.
Mereseini Vuniwaqa, during the celebration of the 16 Days Activism Programme at Natuvu Park in Savusavu yesterday, said women victimised through violence lost many economic opportunities that could have been achieved.
The minister said the time that could have been spent in earning a living for oneself was spent on being victimised through violence.
“Statistics show that more than 70 per cent of women in Fiji have suffered some form of violence in their lives,” she said.
“It is imperative for everyone to take a stand now and speak about the issues being faced.”
She believes the active involvement of people would lead to more awareness on the issue.
“The Government lays out laws and policies, but we need a concerted effort from everyone to get the national statistics down,” she said.
“The “Man up” programme implemented by the ministry is vital because it involved men’s active participation in reducing gender-based violence. It is a campaign that is calling out to all men,” she said.
“But majority of the times, it came from the women on the issues pertaining to them.
“The man up campaign is asking for the male voice to talk about violence against women and to advocate against it.”
The minister also acknowledged the work of male dominated institutes in the country for taking the programme seriously and speaking about it.
“I also ask all the men of Cakaudrove to join us in the fight against violence,” she said.