A recent completion of a national research on the violence against women and children provided shocking results, as according to the Minister for Women, Youth and Children's Affairs, Hon. Peter Tom in his address at the opening of the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence' yesterday.Quite shocking yet true is the revelation that out of three women in the Solomon Islands, at least two has been a victim of Domestic Violence. And one out of five Solomon Islands women has experienced violence by someone who is not their boy friend or husband and one out of ten pregnant women report being beaten. At least one out of five of these women has experienced being punched or kicked in the stomach.
Hon. Tom said that violence is a grave violation of human rights and has a devastating impact to Solomon Island women, families, communities and societies.
Hon. Peter Tom stated that domestic violence is perhaps the worst form of violence that remains hidden and is not addressed since it occurs within private homes. This is often not addressed and discussed as it is considered culturally 'acceptable.'
"Often, cases of domestic violence are not reported to the police because even if there are investigations, prosecutions of these crimes are given a low priority," says the minister.
He then praised the Solomon Islands Police Force for being trained in domestic violence and having become more responsive to cases reported to them.
"We are also pleased that the Ministry of Justice is looking at ways to provide stronger laws to protect our women and children." He added.
Minister Tom said that the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children's Affairs is committed to do its' part in the elimination of violence against women and to help the nation uphold respect for human rights for women and children.
"We are failing our sisters, mothers and daughters if we do not act with urgency to address and eliminate violence against women and children," Minister Tom said.
Hon. Peter Tom concluded by encouraging all Solomon Islanders, especially men to take a moment to think about the existing impacts of violence against women in the country and to openly discuss the issue, most importantly to take action and eliminate it.