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Violence against Pregnant Women Rampant in South Pacific


By Samantha Semoso – EMTV Online

A study by UNICEF has reported high rates of domestic violence against pregnant women in the South Pacific. This includes cases of brutality.

The report was based on studies carried out in Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa and Fiji.

The study further revealed that children, who experienced and were exposed to brutality and violence, are at risk of growing up to become perpetrators of violence.

Amanda Bissex, Chief of Child Protection UNICEF Pacific, said that children were prone to mimic the adults around them. And as such, if exposed to violence in the household, would grow up thinking that violence was a norm, and an acceptable behavioural pattern.

She added that the study showed real evidence of cases of violence and brutality.

The survey on women reported being beaten while pregnant showed Kiribati 23 per cent, Fiji 15 per cent, and 11 per cent in the Solomon Islands.

“You would think that pregnancy is a time where protection from violence would be paramount, yet that is not the case,” Ms Bissex said. “Some of the cases a very severe such as pregnant women being kicked or punched in the abdomen.”

Bissex also said that “this is a reflection of the widespread acceptance of violence against women and children.”

“In Kiribati, women who experience intimate partner violence were two and a half times more likely to have a partner who was beaten as a child, and in Fiji, three times more likely.

“Violence against children, in some cases, even begins in the womb.”

Solomon Islands National Council of Women, Ella Kauhue said she was not surprised by the data and that violence against women on the streets is something that happens all the time across the country especially in the capital.

Although there is much to do to change the mindset of people; and the battle to end violence against women and children is far from over, taking ownership of the problem is one way forward to dealing with the issue.

Parents are encouraged to talk to their children, practice good morals at home, and to be good role models for their children to follow.


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