MONDAY 16 MARCH 2015
Ministry of The Women, Youth, Children & Family Affairsand the SAFENET Group, are condemning in the strongest terms, the killing of a former national beauty queen contestant, Ms Patricia Taika about a week ago in Noro.
The Government of the Solomon Islands recently established a formal referral system called the Referral SAFENET made up of both government and non-government organizations/agencies to provide coordinated, frontline services and support to survivors/victims of gender based violence (GBV)/violence against women (VAW). The five organisations that comprise SAFENET include the Family Support Center, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Christian Care Centre, and the Public Solicitor’s Office.
SAFENET’s, Solomon Sisimia who is also Director of National Community Policing of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, referring to the late Ms Taika’s death said, “The innocent girl should still be alive today if men knew about their responsibility to protect the vulnerable from these evil perpetrators.”
Mr Sisimia said, the killings of the former beauty queen contestant, and also that of 17 year old Lynnette Hilda in East Guadalcanal earlier this year show women and girls continually being beaten, abused and killed by men of this country.
The Ministry and SAFENET are also appalled by a discriminatory cartoon against women, published in the Solomon Star last weekend which states that women are also to be blamed for encouraging crimes such as murder and rape.
Mrs Ethel Sigimanu, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, says the negative image of women which the cartoon portrayed, is an example of the Solomon Star’s irresponsibility and unprofessionalism as a supposedly leading newspaper in the country.
“Publishing the cartoon is a direct slap on the on-going efforts by various government ministries and partners working to end violence against women and girls in the country and the Star owes the women of this country an apology,” Mrs Sigimanu said.
“The media is a powerful tool for influencing and shaping public beliefs, opinions and attitudes and hence the Solomon Star should be more sensitive when reporting on cases of violence against women and girls, especially at this time when family members and friends of the late Patricia Taika and Lynnette Hilda are still grieving their brutal killings.” Mrs Sigimanu said.
Mr Solomon Sisimia also strongly opposed the cartoonist’s messaging style. He said, “The cartoon speaks volumes of the cartoonist and his cohorts’ perception of women. His message is encouraging predators to prey on women whenever they are spotted at the places depicted by the cartoonist.
Members of the Family Support Centre (FSC) also commented saying “the cartoon reaffirms the general perception that it is wrong for women to go out in the dark or be seen in fancy attire drinking beer or spirits. Rather, women are human beings same as men and have the same rights and liberty to enjoy life or do things that the law does not prohibit.”
Both the SAFENET and the Ministry appeal to the Noro community to assist the police to lawfully apprehend the suspects and bring them or him before a court of law in an appropriate time frame.
“This is a wake-up call for the community. The community must work together to condemn such violent acts and to ensure that they are safe and that the lives of women and girls are treated with respect. It is a community responsibility to keep streets safe. “