Understand the implications of your public statements, leaders urged

7 Oct, 2020

THE Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has called on the Minister for Local Government to have some respect and be more considerate while making public statements on those living in the Public Rental Board flats.

In recent media reports, Minister Premila Kumar said she has been informed that prostitution has surfaced in the PRB flats.

FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali said the Minister should back her broad public statements with evidence, and data and not just shame women for being involved in prostitution.

“These are wild allegations and can have devastating impacts on women who are already marginalized and live in the low-income flats,” Ms Ali said.

“It would have been appropriate for the Minister to understand the complexity of the problem, visit the women living in the area and raise awareness, instead of grandstanding in the media.”

Now that the issue has garnered public attention, Ms Ali said women living in the area face the risks of being targeted, blamed, abused, humiliated, vilified or physically attacked.

“The Minister should understand that in most cases, prostitution is not a conscious and calculated choice.

“Most women who become prostitutes do so because they were forced or coerced by a man, or, when it is an independent decision, it is generally the result of extreme poverty and lack of opportunity, or of serious underlying problems, such as drug addiction or trauma.”

Ms Ali said the Minister should first understand that prostitution is a form of exploitation of women and male dominance over women, resulting from the existing patriarchal societal order.

“That’s where the Minister should divert her attention too – understanding the root cause of the problem and not create unnecessary panic and fear.”

She urged national leaders to understand the implications their public statements could have on the lives of those who are already vulnerable in our society.


For more information, please contact Shamima Ali on 9992 875

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