And she says the Family Law Bill, now being reviewed by a Parliamentary Select Committee and the community, will ensure perpetrators of sexual crimes do not get off lightly in future.
The bill will provide more protection to survivors of sexual offences and aims to replace some of the outdated clauses in the 1969 Crimes Act, Napa says.
“The 1969 Act has served its time and now needs to be replaced with clearer definitions of the sexual offences committed against our women and their families.” The sentencing of offenders and the penalties handed down to those responsible for such “unspeakable” crimes also needs attention, the MP says.
“More work is required to maximise just punishment on these evil people whose twisted minds and acts have recently ruined the life of a beautiful young woman and family.
“In this respect I ask my fellow members of parliament, both sides of the floor, to work together on amending our outdated laws on rape and sexual abuse and violence.
“I will push for harsher penalty on the perpetrators in my Select Committee work and seek our community support to this mission. Commenting on police efforts to find the perpetrators of alleged rape which took place on Rarotonga two weeks ago, Napa says she is begging anyone with information about the incident to speak out before anyone else gets hurt.
The brutal attack left a young woman severely injured to the point where she had to undergo surgery for several hours. Police have yet to solve the crime, but are following leads and are still appealing for information from the public.
“The police are seeking the assistance of the community to help them solve this crime,” Napa says. “Please, please speak out, silence on this issue is not going to help us, and before we know it someone else we love will get hurt.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable that a crime of this kind can even occur in our small and peaceful paradise.
“I am sure the reporting of this news in CI News may have shaken a lot of our people in disbelief and shock, and challenged us to wake up and do something before a daughter or female family member falls victim to these cowardly perpetrators.”
“Let us not have these perpetrators destroy our hopes and aspiration for Cook Islands to be a safe country to live in, and for tourists to visit and for our children tomorrow.”
Napa says the report “Te Ata o te Ngakau” provides clear figures regarding the number of Cook Islands women and their families who are subjected to some form of sexual and physical abuse in their lifetime.
“It says that large percentage of our women have been subjected to sexual abuse in their lifetime. Some has been reported, and some not. You can do the maths, but it clearly signals a portion of people in our society live with sexual violence issues all their lives.
“We are such a small nation, but the figures advise us that one in three women are subjected to some form of physical and sexual abuse.
“I close with a plea to our people. Anyone who has some information that will assist in letting justice preside fairly, and that will bring a small comfort of closure to our survivor (and other survivors over the years) of such a horrible crime.
“Please come forward and help her and help us to address this spectre of evil, and keep it away from our homes and lives, and our young women and their families.
Kia orana e na Te Atua koe e maine e te kopu tangata e akapumaana I teia au tuatau ki mua.
- CS/ Release