Vuniwaqa: Man up

Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa checks out hanidcraft products at the Savusavu Saturday Market Project. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

MINISTER for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa has called on the nation to “man up” and protect women and children of Fiji.

In launching the northern Man Up campaign in Savusavu on Saturday, Mrs Vuniwaqa said about 70 per cent of women had suffered some form of violence at home.

“Violence against women and children can become a hindrance to empowerment of women economically,” she said.

“About 70 per cent of our women have suffered some form of violence in their homes and that’s high for a country like ours and that statistics will keep growing if we don’t keep talking about it.

“We can’t do it alone. Government can’t do it alone, we have done so by laying down laws and policies to address this, but we need concerted efforts.

“We need to work with faith-based organisations, the vanua and communities and we need to do this to decrease the stats.”

The Man Up campaign, she said, was basically calling on men to be the voice of this campaign.

“Most times in our country, women are preaching about violence against women but now we want the men to talk about it,” Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

“The military commander has taken the lead role in this campaign and we are encouraged.

“A woman who is beaten up at her home may not be able to come out to sell her handicraft so she loses the opportunity to earn an income and improve livelihood. When a woman suffers violence at home, not only the woman suffers but the nation suffers as well.”

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