Sunday, July 12, 2015

Domestic Violence in Tonga (but also very similar to Samoa)...and probably everywhere else in the Pacific ):

It saddens me that this is still prevalent in our communities.
I think that in many cases, we continue to use our 'culture' as an excuse to violate the rights of our own, particularly the most vulnerable.
What I really appreciate in the article below is that it looks at domestic violence inflicted by other women and other family members. We tend to presume that its usually the partner/spouse but the perpetrators are women who we are supposed to be trust or protectors.

One of the terms we grew up with at home is 'Malu', to be protected or sheltered. My brother is my protector. My chief is my protector, but when I or someone is violated, we hear things like "E le malu" ---she was not protected. It is a poor reflection of the protector, and their failure to cast that protection upon me.

Sadly, as we have seen frequently in the news lately, it is this very protector who sometimes inflicts the violence.
It reminds me of a young girl in my village who was suddenly 'sent away'. She was not even 10 years and was raped by her father. The solution was this: They moved to the family of the rapist so that they would not bring shame to the family (in my village). That child fell pregnant to her own father. They never came back to our village. But it got me thinking at the time, ...What kind of mother would do this? Allow this to happen to her daughter and then quietly pack her belongings and disappear from her own village - just to protect the name of her family?

(It reminds me also of our how  'cultural roles' disadvantages women who are married into the family. Their status reduced to 'nofo tane' - who serves and slaves away in most cases....I sometimes wonder how we went wrong though, because most of the nofo tanes I grew up with in Savaii where totally hopeless with feaus, lol. oi aue...begs the question, be o le isi end lea o le continuum, o nofo tane ua abuse o latou rights ma ua ga'o le gogofo ma vali akigilima ma fai kala o isi ae le faia gi feau.
ia, thats another thesis right thuuuurrr choohooo---I better stop I panel beat oka foliga e se fafige nofo kangs pe'a o'u afio aku I savaii).

Thank you Peter Munro for writing this:

The Friendly Islands are no friend to women
By Peter Munro

Read more:

After every beating she had a shower, to take the heat from the bruises. Iula  [she doesn't want her surname published] wore long clothes to hide the fresh marks appearing on her body each month. "They would sometimes beat me with their fists. They would sometimes slap my face or hit me with a wooden spoon, or sometimes a stick or a piece of wood."
She was punished for speaking back or not doing her chores. Her adopted parents beat her when they came home tired from work. Iula wondered if she deserved their blows. "Once they hit you, you know you're wrong and you learn your lesson."
She's a slight and sweet 18-year-old, wearing a sports jacket and black skirt, with braided hair hanging over her right shoulder. She says she suffered physical and emotional harm as a child and into her teens, largely at the hands of a female relative.
"We know our place in our society": Lady 'Ainise Sevele. "We know our place in our society": Lady 'Ainise Sevele. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Her story is not uncommon in the Kingdom of Tonga, where three out of four women report suffering domestic violence. Here in the so-called "friendly islands", women report being punched, kicked, dragged, beaten or choked. The perpetrator in many cases is another woman.

Read the rest of the article here:

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