Fiji Has Very High Rates Of Violence Against Women

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

64% of women suffer sexual, physical violence in their lifetimes

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 12, 2016) – While Fiji has an image of itself as a society that values family, children and community, a Fiji Women's Crisis Centre survey shows that of the 3193 women surveyed, 15 per cent have been beaten during pregnancy, and one-third of these were punched or kicked in the abdomen by their husband or partner.

The shocking revelation was made in the centre's 2013 national survey on women's health and life experiences titled Somebody's Life, Everybody's Business.

According to the survey, Fiji's rates of violence against women and girls are among the highest in the world.

"A total of 64 per cent of women who have ever been in an intimate relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence by a husband or intimate partner in their lifetime, and 24 per cent are suffering from physical or sexual partner violence today," the survey said.

It further stated that of the total women surveyed, 61 per cent were physically attacked and 34 per cent were sexually abused in their lifetime.

"Rates of emotional abuse are also high. Fifty-eight per cent of ever-partnered women experienced emotional violence in their lifetime, and 29 per cent in the previous 12 months before the survey.

"Overall, 72 per cent of ever-partnered women experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence from their husband/partner in their lifetime, and many suffered from all three forms of abuse simultaneously."

According to the survey, 69 per cent of women had been subjected to one or more forms of control by their husband or partner, and 28 per cent were subjected to four or more types of control.

The survey also revealed that 39 per cent or two in every five women had to ask permission from their husbands before seeking health care for themselves and for 57 per cent, their husband or partner insisted on knowing where they are at all times.

The survey also stated that the complex web of control, intimidation, humiliation and multiple forms of violence needs to be recognised by all service providers who aim to prevent violence and assist women living with violence.

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