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Friday 27 May 2016 | Published in Regional


FIJI – Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has rejected Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni’s views that wives who aggravate their husbands are partially to blame for domestic violence.

He made the comments in Istanbul, Turkey, at the World Humanitarian Summit Leaders Roundtable on Women and Girls.

And while not mentioning Dr Luveni directly, Bainimarama did make comments that were in stark contrast to those made by his Speaker last week.

Dr Luveni made her comments in an address on violence against women and girls.

“Sometimes, we know exactly what our husbands don’t like and then we do it. What do you expect?” Dr Luveni said.

Bainimarama said his attitude and that of his government was one of zero tolerance for violence against women.

“I simply do not accept the argument that the onus is on a woman not to provoke her partner’s temper. And that if she does so, that somehow justifies or excuses the treatment that is meted out to her,” Bainimarama said.

“It is a way of thinking that provides men with an excuse to justify the unjustifiable and women to accept the unacceptable.

“It is a way of thinking that is totally out of kilter with the norms of any society with pretensions to decency. And it is a way of thinking that perpetuates a cycle of violence and must be eradicated with the full force of the law. Zero tolerance for those who abuse women and girls.

“I want to make it perfectly clear what my own attitude is and that of the government I lead. There is no justification, no excuse, for any man to inflict violence on a woman or abuse her in any way. Those who do so are cowards and criminals.”

Bainimarama said Fiji - like many other societies – was patriarchal with a range of institutional and cultural barriers to gender equality.

“I am sad to report that we all still have a terrible problem with male attitu­des to women. We have an unacceptable level of rape and child abuse,” he said.

“Far too many men regard women as subservient and as possessions for their sexual gratification. Far too many men routinely resort to violence in a domestic setting.

“We are in the throes of a national debate about whether women are in any way to blame for this,” he said. - Fiji Times