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Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama cuts the cake commemorating the launching of the 24-hour Domestic Violence Toll Free Helpline and the 2017 National Women's Expo. Picture by Shaelah Matechuk


INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day is not intended just to say nice things about women and give them flowers and hugs – and then return to life as we know it the next day.

These were the sentiments echoed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while launching the Donestic Violence 24-Hour Toll Freehelp Line and the National Women’s Expo to be held in June this year.

“It is not a time to talk in patronizing tones about how we love our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and sweethearts. We have seen that too often how people can commit unspeakable acts of violence and repression against the very people they are supposed to love and protect,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“No this is a time to appreciate the contribution of women to society on equal terms. It is a time to cry out for collaboration, support, empowerment, understanding and most important of all – equality,” he added.

Mr Bainimarama said equality is the key because we all know that violence against women stems from two things: a conviction that women are less equal than men and a deep-seated fear that they are not.

He added that we are making a statement as one people when launching a toll-free Domestic Violence Helpline to support all women who are or have been victims of violence – or who fear they may become victims of violence.

Mr Bainimarama said we are making a statement to the women that:

“You must not accept violence and if you choose to fight back, your country will support you. And if you cannot fight back but need help, your country will embrace you.”

The 24-hour Domestic Violence Helpline is a truly a national effort as it is a partnership of the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation with our three telecommunication companies – Digicel, Vodafone and Telecom Fiji Limited and also the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.


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