Serious sexual offences stats ‘frightening’

Picture:FILE

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) serious sexual offences statistics for September are “frightening” and show that communities are not safe for women and children.

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) said this in response to queries from The Fiji Times.

FWRM also said more than 50 per cent of all sexual abuse victims and survivors between 2018 and 2021 were below 17 years of age.

The FWRM said numbers do not lie.

“Every month, data shared by the ODPP on sexual violence and rape finds that women and girls make up majority of the victims of rape and sexual violence, if not all,” the organisation said.

“FWRM analysis of rape cases decided by the High Courts has also found that the average age of the victim/survivors was below 17 years for the period of 2016 to 2021 and more than 50 per cent of all victims/survivors were under the age of 17 from 2018 to 2021.”

FWRM said the statistics were frightening and showed communities were not safe for women and children.

“The prevalence of such a heinous crime against women and girls in Fiji needs a total change of mindset and an end to patriarchal ideologies that diminish the rights of women and girls in Fiji because it is obvious that our attitudes towards women and girls fuel the cycle of violence and are contributing to these trends.

“FWRM believes that continuous gender sensitisation training is needed to challenge harmful practices against women and girls.

“Speedier redress mechanisms that are victim/survivor centred also need to be engaged.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our communities are safe for everyone and shut down behaviour that is harmful to women and girls.”

According to FWRM, sexual violence against women and girls was not just a women’s group issue, but rather, that of everyone.

FWRM said the issue needed more to be considered with more urgency to address the silent pandemic and reiterated that women and girls deserved a safe community, committed to safeguarding all rights and dignities.

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