Last night, 181 leaders in the country including the Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua, turned out for the 'Leaders Dinner to the White Ribbon Day' dinner, aimed at supporting awareness and services delivery program to stop violence against women and children in Solomon Islands.Guest speaker, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of the Women, Youth and Children Affairs, Mrs. Ethel Sigimanu stated that for generations women have been silent about the abuse by their husbands and according to Mrs. Sigimanu, "now it is time to act and do something."
She revealed that domestic violence, gender based violence and child abuse are social issues which must be considered as serious issues in the country that constraints women form education.
She told leaders who were present, that it is time that they rise up and say no to violence and this is also the time to join hands to stop violence against women and children.
Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua in his address said that the CNURA Government will look into the issue of violence and try to find ways to minimize domestic violence in the country.
In an interview with Solomon Times, Dr. Adu-Krow of the World Health Organization stated that the dinner marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
Dr. Adu-Krow said the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign running from November 25th to December 10th which is also Human Rights Day, where people around the world take a stand against gender based violence.
He also revealed that from survey results of Solomon Islands, 2 out of 3 women aged between 15-49 years who have been in a relationship has experienced violence by their husbands or boy friends. He also revealed that 1 out of 5 women has experienced violence by someone who is not their boy friend or husband and 1 out of 10 pregnant women report being beaten. He also added that 1 out of 5 of these women experienced being punched or kicked in the stomach.
He added that Solomon Islands compared to the rest of the world is the third highest recorded cases of domestic violence, revealing that at least 64% of women are affected by domestic violence.
The 16 days activism is organized by Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs in collaboration with the World Health Organization, UNFPA with other non government organizations.