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Tonga Joins Movement To End Violence Against Women
Recent survey reported violence affected 77% of Tongan women

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 26, 2012) – In Tonga there is violence between high school boys, young men in villages, between and within families and in public places. "And at the end of each case, someone's loved one is injured or badly affected; sadly, the perpetrat[ion] of violence [is] mostly by us, the men," Lord Vaea said today as Tonga marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The White Ribbon Day, 25 November, was marked in Tonga as part of a global campaign led by men to end violence against women and girls.

Lord Vaea, Minister for Internal Affairs, as guest of honor, said Tonga joined 130 countries around the world to share a common goal and vision to eliminate all forms of violence against women.

He said it was relevant because there is so much violence around and constantly headlined by the media.

Domestic Violence

Lord Vaea said according to a National Study on Domestic Violence against women in Tonga launched by the Prime Minister earlier this year, from a sample of 600 women:

  • 40 percent of women have experienced physical and or sexual violence by a partner in Tonga.
  • 45 percent of women in Tonga, reported having experienced at least one of the three types of partner violence of (physical, sexual and emotional violence) in their lifetime.
  • 22 percent of every partnered woman reporting multiple types of violence by her partner
  • 68 percent in Tonga, reported they had experienced violence by someone other than a partner since they were 15-years old.
  • 77 percent in Tonga have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lives by a partner or non-partner.

He said most women who reported physical violence by non-partners said that perpetrators were in most cases, fathers and teachers.

"The study had reported that the phenomenon of violence against women and children is widespread and deeply ingrained in Tongan society and the violence is, to a large extent physical and perpetrated by men known to women as partners, but even more so fathers and teachers."

He said Tonga was fortunate today to have the Ministry's National Taskforce for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Domestic Violence Unit at Tonga Police, the Police National Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence and the recently established Victim Support Unit, with two NGO providing services to victims of abuse.

Lord Vaea said Government had also drafted a Family Protection Bill with a clear purpose to protect women and children from domestic violence.

"We hope that you take the message in your own way, and work to raise awareness and bring about positive change. And I encourage you to challenge other men by speaking the message of the white ribbon so that they know that violence against women is wrong and you have the power to end it."

Assault

Police Commissioner Grant O'Fee said domestic violence belongs to everyone. And for anyone to exercise assault just because he is the 'man of the house' was wrong.

"This is not just a Tongan issue but a worldwide issue," he said.

The white ribbon event held at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall was organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which now administers the Women's Affairs.

Guests included the Minister of Education Hon 'Ana Taufe'ulungaki, Australian High Commissioner HE Mr. Thomas Roth, China's Ambassador HE Wang Dong Hua, Deputy Police Commissioner Taniela Faletau, Solicitor General 'Aminiasi Kefu and representatives from non-government organizations.

Australian Aid supported the White Ribbon program, which has been marked in Tonga, for six years.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/
Copyright 2012 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved


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