The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is deeply concerned with reports of a young woman that was allegedly stabbed to death by her partner in Naitasiri.

According to reports 10 women tragically lost their lives to domestic violence in 2019.

Executive Director Nalini Singh has also reiterated the need to prioritise responses to gender based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the added stress emerging from the pandemic, FWRM realises that the vulnerabilities of women and girls has increased even further.

FWRM along with other women’s rights organisations and the Ministry of Women warns of a likely increase in domestic violence in lockdown situations.

According to their research, it generally takes a woman more than 2.5 years to report domestic violence.

She says with COVID-19 restrictions, this enforced isolation could mean the worst case scenarios for victims or survivors and those at risk.

Singh says additionally, news reports of the alleged rape of a 2-year-old girl in Rakiraki is disheartening, particularly after continued analysis by FWRM notes, that the average age of the youngest victims or survivors of Sexual Violence and Rape Cases heard in the courts from 2016 to 2019, was under 5 years.

The FWRM’s analysis also found that all survivors of the 101 rape cases decided by the High Court last year were female.

The oldest victim was a 63-year-old woman whilst the youngest victim/survivor was 2 years and 11 months old child.

In all 101 cases of rape, all the accused were male, the youngest accused was 12 years old and the oldest at 83 years of age.

The average age of victims from 2016 to 2019 is 16 years old and 53 percent of victims were under 17 years of age, which she says, is a sad reflection of our society.

She says there is no excuse for such despicable acts of crime and we need to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and also address the deeply entrenched patriarchy in our communities which perpetuates violence against women and girls.

If you are, or know of anyone at risk of, or subjected to domestic violence please call the Domestic Violence Helpline Number on 1560 and the Child Helpline on 1325.

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