Pacific violence figures shocking

The level of violence against women in the Pacific is double the rate in the rest of the world, which is the sign that Pacific societies need to change social norms in order for development to progress, said a United Nations official.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand International, UN Women’s Deputy Representative for Fiji, Nicolas Burniat, made the point that there has seen a big increase in awareness about the problem in the Pacific. Burniat said he has seen “increased visibility over the last few years and (the problem) has been taken increasingly seriously by governments.” 

Burniat said all countries in the world face domestic violence problems, but it is much worse in the Pacific islands.

“If you look at the Pacific, the amounts (of violence) are double,” Burniat said. “The average is anything between 60 and 68 percent of women in their lifetime knowing violence. We also need to start working and stopping the violence before it happens.” 

He said the studies in the Marshall Islands and other Pacific nations about violence are “very worrying.”

He used the Marshall Islands as an example, saying that “65 percent of women in the Marshall Islands actually agree that it’s normal in certain circumstances for their partners to be violent. Now that clearly shows that something has to be done about changing mentalities, changing social norms.”

Read more about this in the December 25, 2015 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.