Caption: Participants of the Perpetrators program two day seminar. PHOTO: Ronald Koroi
By SALOTE QALUBAU.
Participants of the Fiji Womens Crisis centre (FWCC) two-day perpetrators program seminar which had begun on Monday, February 17,were encouraged by acting chief executive of the “No to Violence, Family Violence Prevention Association and Men’s Referral Service, Rodney Vlais to step up and implement a hands on approach in eradicating violence against women in Fiji as well as the pacific.
Participants of the seminar included delegates from the Vanuatu Womens Centre, Tonga Women and Children Crisis Centre, Fiji Police Force; faith based organizations from Tonga and Fiji as well as the Papua New Guinea and Fiji Correctional services.
“Taking responsibility is a process; men should stop using alcohol and stress as excuses to use violence,”Mr.Vlais highlighted during the seminar.
Often violence against women also includes social, economic and emotional abuse whereby men often target parenting techniques of women by criticizing and questioning their spending choices in front of their children as well as hindering all possible social connections where the woman may be encouraged to take a stand against him.
“The men have learnt to use their masculinity positively; it’s not all about violence and beating people up and being horrible and exercising social power and economic power. It’s about being a sympathetic man, who respects women and promotes human rights,” said Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali.
According to Ms Ali, portrayal of women by the media either in the form of music videos or pornography is also a key contributing factor to the provoking of men to view women in a demeaning manner such as sexual objects or subservient beings.
“There are government programs, but everybody has to believe in it for it to be implemented. Some organizations have that kind of attitude when police go out to the community and warn women and girls that girls and women get raped because it’s their fault whereas they should be saying what the prime minister said in Kadavu last week,” Ms Ali said.
“The PM said and I quote: “look out perpetrators; we’re going to come down very hard on you,” unquote.
“And that’s sending out a message to perpetrators that they will be dealt with by our police force and our legal system.”
She also added that participants have recognized the essentiality of developing rights based approach as well as the crucial goal to bring about change within men and boys by educating them on the issue of Womens and girls rights.
The two day seminar which was held at the Hexagon International Hotel, Nadi that concluded on Tuesday, February 18, is also part of the FWCC male advocacy program.