Fiji National University (FNU), academic Dr Zakia Ali-Chand believes everyone should actively participate in consultations and discussions regarding violence against women and girls

Dr Ali-Chand, Acting Associate Dean Research at FNU’s College of Humanities and Education (CHE), represented the University at the launch of the Fiji National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls this week.

“In this phase of the national plan, consultations will be held in the settings of education, health and social services, legal, justice and corrections, faith-based, the informal sector, and with adolescents/youths,” Dr Ali-Chand said.

“This is an important plan and FNU has an important role to play by virtue of being the national university of Fiji. This is an important plan for academics in general, and women academics and students, in particular, as studies in this area of research are uncommon. As academic women, we need to have consultations and discussions on gender-based violence (GBV) and abuse at academic institutions.”

“Studies and lived experiences of all women show that the main cause of gender-based violence is inequality in a patriarchal society. The lives of women and girls are still shaped by the cultural forces of society, where men show power and control,” she said.

Dr Ali-Chand highlighted that the three approaches to eliminating violence against women and girls, as outlined in the national plan, were through primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

“Primary prevention refers to actions designed to reduce or stop violence before it starts, secondary prevention refers to response services that aim to stop repeat experiences of violence after it has already happened and tertiary prevention refers to the longer-term response after violence has occurred, eg. preventing long-term disability related to violence against women and girls.”

She added that academics could contribute to ending GBV by being aware and vigilant of the issue and be able to provide support to students and other staff.

She said this would be in line with FNU’s involvement in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign.

As part of the campaign, all FNU staff are encouraged to show their support by wearing Orange. Students, staff and the public can show their support online by using the Facebook frame created by the University for the campaign.

In addition to this, content on statistics, GBV myths and realities and initiatives and support services relating to gender-based violence will also be circulated to all staff and on FNU social media platforms during the campaign period. 

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