The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement in its annual Rape Case Analysis has seen an alarming trend over the past seven years.
The Analysis published today shows that from 2016-2022 the youngest rape victim continues to be under the age of five.
The Analysis shows that out of all rape cases decided in Fiji’s High Courts last year, 66 percent of victim or survivors are under the age of 18.
FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh says this is shocking and totally unacceptable.
Singh stresses that girl child continues to face gender-based violence in the form of rape even in this modern day and age despite so much awareness on violence against women and girls.
“The question we ask now is, why rape is still happening in Fiji? Why have we not been able to abolish this heinous crime in our societies, in our workplaces and gatherings?”
The FWRM’s yearly trends analysis finds that last year the average sentence meted out for a rape perpetrator was more than 10 years, with the average age of the perpetrator being 38 years old.
Sixty-six percent of the victim or survivors were under the age of 18 and the youngest victim was two-years-old at the time of offending.
Singh says what is further alarming is that more than 60 percent of perpetrators were in a domestic relationship with the victim while 32 percent were previously known to the victim.
“This confirms that rape in Fiji is perpetuated by family, friends and workmates. People who we see and interact with on a regular basis are the ones who are harming our women and girls. Immediate action is needed to stop rape now.”
Singh says they have also found there is a lack of information publicly available for all rape cases.
“What we are saying is that the State bears the duty of publishing cases, with appropriate mechanisms in place to protect identities, so that the public can access this information. Organizations like ours can analyze the cases and bring forward the necessary recommendations to improve the services.”
Singh adds access to relevant data will help them understand the barriers to women’s access to justice and also understand why rape is a form of gender-based violence.