FWCC receives over 2, 000 new counselling clients

March 8, 2024 4:01 pm

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Center received over 2,400 new clients for counseling last year of which approximately 65 percent were related to domestic violence.

Head of Research at FWCC, Ilisapeci Veibuli, says a significant concern for them is the rise of marital rape, with 115 cases reported last year.

The latest findings from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center show that women and girls are facing a number of new challenges.

Article continues after advertisement

Veibuli says they have observed a trend of economic violence where women are deprived of access to financial resources, and one of the major contributing factors to this is the misuse of drugs.

“So in several of the cases, women have reported that they have been coerced into peddling drugs, and the usage of drugs, which makes them to be dependent on the substance by their partners, as this is somehow also, is a sort of a means of control by their partners.”

The FWCC has discovered that some men force their wives, partners and daughters into prostitution to be able to meet their needs for drug and alcohol use.

Veibuli says another issue that has come to light is women are pressured to born the expenses of their partners who are applying to go overseas for employment.

So this, even from this financial dependency that women have, I mean, thinking that when their husband goes abroad, getting money specifically for their family, what we’ve seen is that they don’t send money through.

She says many of these women have reached out to the FWCC to ask for help to send their children back to school.

Veibuli says they have been providing schooling stationeries and other household needs to these families.

Apart from this, the Head of Research says the FWCC has seen that women are being trolled or bullied online after being coerced to share their personal images.

She adds that when women leave these relationships they’re blackmailed that if they do not cooperate their pictures will be leaked.

Veibuli says last year, they counseled 35 survivors of rape, eight of attempted rape, and 30 of sexual assault.

She adds they also counseled and supported 62 survivors of child rape, 53 of child sexual abuse, and 60 of child abuse and 25 of sexual harassment.

FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali says the other report registered by them includes people being taken out of their homes.

“They are being pushed out of their homes, and are unable to access accommodation, or being asked to leave because the social services are not able to cater for them. And we’ve had those that have come in to provide some legal advice, assistance with probates, property rights.’

Ali believes the increase in criminal and sexual activities involving the younger people is mostly due to easy access to pornographic materials.

“So we are also seeing that they are copying behavior that they see and they’re getting, you know, like in sensitized to this kind of behavior, terrible sexual behavior towards other people by watching porn and so on.”

The FWCC is working with the Public Rental Board and HART Housing to cater for those women and children who have been abandoned by their partners.