Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali emphasizes the challenges faced by women experiencing violence in relationships citing cultural norms and myths that perpetuate the idea of sticking with a marriage despite abuse.
Ali highlights the difficulty women encounter when contemplating leaving due to societal expectations and ingrained beliefs.
She states that FWCC aims to empower women by explaining legal avenues such as the Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
“The woman leaves when she is ready to leave and sometimes it’s too late, there are a lot of pressures for her to stay, the family, the religion, churches, all these people who are telling her that you can stay, you must stay-don’t break up the family and so on, a lot of pressures so FWCCC intervenes and gives her options.”
Ali reiterates the importance of letting women make choices about their lives.
The proactive approach involves raising awareness and changing mindsets.
Ali stresses that the strategy is informed by women’s experiences of violence and accessing support services.
FWCC, she adds actively engages with both women and men, with male advocacy for women’s human rights becoming a focal point.
Ali notes that involving men as advocates is part of their comprehensive strategy to address gender-based violence.