Editorial comment – Family values

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POLICE Inspector Jovesa Nasalia reckons the breakdown of family values and traditional iTaukei family bond may be a contributing factor to the increase in sexual offences.

He spoke at the Kubulau District meeting in Bua on Thursday last week.

The Savusavu Community Policing officer said tabu observed by those of the opposite sex within the iTaukei traditional family unit were now being taken lightly.

Inspector Nasalia said he had noticed that now brothers and sisters including uncles, aunties and their nephews and nieces were joking with one another.

It’s something, he said, that was once tabu in most iTaukei family settings.

He reminded the village heads and elders that there was a reason for the tabu.

There was a need to “preserve the sanctity of such relations between brothers and sisters, uncles, aunties and their nieces and nephews”.

It was now up to elders of the community, he insisted, to do something about the traditional relationships and tabu.

He reminded community leaders at the meeting that women and children in iTaukei communities continued to be assaulted sexually. The revelation is actually quite interesting.

Understandably we’d all want to believe it’s not happening. You’d probably think it could never happen to you for instance.

The harsh reality though is that sexual assaults are happening. There is no discrimination either.

It can happen to anyone regardless of our status in society.

Statistics released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions early this month, for March, revealed that 28 people were charged with 58 counts of separate incidents.

Of the listed offences, 36 were for rape, one attempted defilement, one abduction with intent to have carnal knowledge and 20 sexual assaults.

Of the 30 victims, 19 were under the age of 18.

There were 29 female victims and in 15 incidents, the victims were related to the accused.

It is good that such discussions are now out in the open.

The bottom line though is there is a need for vigilance, and for us to be frank about the issue.

If there is a shift in momentum, towards embracing the right of people to be heard, then that is a good thing that should be encouraged.

Hopefully it is a positive reflection of the mood of the people.

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