I got married on July 1996 at Nuku’alofa and my husband started beating me 3 months later. When I gave birth to our first child (boy) he still went on beating me.
It was typical of him to have drinks with his friends after work every Friday before coming home. He expected to have a warm meal waiting for him every Friday when he arrived. If this was not prepared then he would either hit me or throw a bottle at me. When I had my second child (also a boy), the beating and swearing at me increased. I was also told to stay at home and not to go anywhere. I told my family sometimes and they would come and get me but my husband would always come and beg me to come back and I would. Right after being released from hospital after giving birth to my third child (girl), he hit me and struck one of my eyes. It was only luck that I didn’t go blind. I thank my neighbors for it was them who called the police. When the police came I was hiding with my new born baby girl while my two boys where crying and calling out to me. I am grateful that my neighbors were quick to report my situation because it could have been worse for my kids. We could have been killed.
Now I have taken my husband to court and have got a divorce. He wanted to get back together because of all the sentences and penalties he received for his actions but I refused to get back with him. I am now free and happy after 19 years of living in fear and captivity by a disturbed husband.
‘Alisi is 33 years old. She migrated from one of the outer islands to the main Island, Tongatapu to complete her studies. She completed this and went on to get married and had 4 children. She has been married for 12 years now. She tells her story.
A few years later I wanted to continue on with my studies and so I enrolled in a Tertiary Institute. It was usual for us students who did not have a vehicle, to hitch a ride to school in either a friend’s or relatives when they are available. There was one particular faculty of the school who seemed nice and always willing to give me a ride home after school.
One day, during one of those rides, he raped me. I was much wounded especially on an emotional level that I even dropped out of the Institute. I had a lot of problems which stemmed from what I went through. I even began to have problems with my marriage because I feared that my husband would hate me if he knew and I felt I had the lowest morale.
Then I heard about the WCCC and their work from some of the people and got better understanding of what they can offer from their radio programs. I immediately went to their office to seek help. As of now they have helped in letting me face what happened to me and to deal with the incident both emotionally, physically and spiritually. My husband even joins me on my counselling sessions with the Centre. I am currently receiving counselling from WCCC and learning to deal with the incident and learning to move on.
I am 17 years old and I am the youngest of three children, all girls.
I was abused by my father, although I never ever imagined that he could do such things to me.
He had raised me since I was born, I trusted him and then he sexually abused me.
It happen one night when I was asleep. I felt someone touching me on my private parts. I woke up and found it was my father. Because I was shocked and scared, I laid still and silent on my bed. After he was done, he fell asleep then I got up and left out house. I went to the bush across the road and hid there until the next morning.
At daylight I went back home but I was too scared to tell my mom and I kept silent for a few months.
One day I went to one of my cousin’s house and we were talking about how my older sister’s husband treats her by saying bad words and bad things about her like “you were not a virgin when I married you ” and so forth. I asked my sister why is he saying things like that to her. My sister told me that our father had raped her.
What I heard from my sister encouraged me to tell my mother about what my father had done to me. I found out that it was not only me, he did the same thing to my older sister.
I told my mom and she did not believe me. At this time my father went to another island, so I decided to move and stay in one of my relatives house before my father got back. I was scared if he found out that I had told my mother.
I moved to my relatives’ house and I explained everything to them. They helped me and took me to Women and Children Crisis Centre for legal advice and counselling. I feel safe now staying at the Safe House.
I hope that the decision I have made encourages young girls who are facing the same problem to seek help from WCCC because is never too late to seek help.
I say thank you to WCCC for all their help and support. They saved my life and keep me safe. I realize the difference now from what I have been before seeking your assistance. I hope my story will help to save more girls and encourage them to speak out because is not their fault.
The WCCC sends a huge MALO ‘AUPITO (thank you) to those individuals, organisations, associations and groups who have made the following donations to the Centre over the last 3 months;
¨ Kath McKinley and Bryce Wood from New Zealand – Toys, puzzles and chocolates for the children at the Safe House
¨ Stephen Cooper – Donated fresh fish for the Safe House
¨ ‘Ana Bing Fonua—Food donation for the Safe House
Thank you very much for always thinking of the Women and Children Crisis Centre.
Malo e Lelei! Working with young people is a huge part of WCCC’s prevention strategy. The ultimate goal for us at WCCC is that there is no longer a need for a crisis centre.
Unfortunately, statistics are telling us another story with the number of reports at both the police and WCCC on the rise. One of the ways we are hoping to address this epidemic is to work closely with young people. WCCC has piloted a number of strategies which we hope we can roll out in 2016 as part of our core programs and activities.
One of our new initiatives is our ‘Healthy and Respectful Relationship’ program whereby two workshops were held in 2015 bringing together youth leaders from church-based organisations and village youth groups. As an outcome of the first workshop the youth leaders developed the 10 Characteristics of a Healthy and Respectful Relationship which featured in our last newsletter. Following the second workshop they developed the ’10 Red Flags To Be Aware Of’ that may be warning signs of a relationship that could be at high risk of violence and abuse. The overall objective of this program is to help young people understand the power and control aspects of a relationship and how they can prevent themselves from walking through our doors in the future! We thank our clients who have agreed for us to share their stories. WCCC has been sharing client stories since our very first newsletter in 2010. Our client’s stories are the core foundation of our work – they are what drive our advocacy and lobbying in the hope that barriers and discriminative legislation, policy, practices, processes, attitudes and behaviours are challenged and more importantly changed for the betterment of women and girls in Tonga. Tau Mo’ui Ke Fiefia! Living a Life Free From Violence!
Corporal punishment is forbidden in the Education Act of Tonga but students are still visiting District Health Centres for treatment of problems caused by corporal punishment used for discipline in schools.
WCCC received a request from Fua’amotu Health Centre to run a session with the teachers of the Government Primary School at Fua’amotu. The aim of the session was to clarify the Education Act and other relevant acts including the Family Protection Act and criminal law.
At the session WCCC Director, ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki, gave an overview of these acts which raised questions and comments from teachers. “I have done all I could to inform the teachers about the negative impacts of using corporal punishment. I think my endeavors will be better heard and understood if they hear it from the Centre’s perspective”, the principal said.
One teacher stated, “I am one of those teachers who is feared by students of this school because I resort to corporal punishment whenever they misbehave. Now I am beginning to see that there are other ways that I could use to discipline students instead of resorting to hitting them all the time. I and my fellow teachers should follow the law.”
Other teachers then came up with several methods they could use instead, one said “I have, at times, given class duty as punishment for students who misbehave and it does work better than giving them corporal punishment. It lets students reflect on their mistakes on a personal level without the fear of being hit, slapped or yelled at.”
The session was facilitated by the WCCC Director, ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki, assisted by counsellor, Sela Sausini Tu’itupou, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Tonga Program Coordinator, Soana Pongi and the Centre’s Communication Advocate Tupou Mahe Lanumata.
The 16 Days of Activism was kick started with commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Wednesday 25th November with a Government Primary School (GPS) Chant Competition, Fe’auhi Fakakaekae, at the Digicel Square in the centre of Nuku’alofa.
Five primary schools participated in the competition: GPS Fatai, GPS Popua, GPS Lapaha, GPS ‘Atele and GPS Nuku’alofa.
Their songs and chants were composed on the themes Mo’ui ke Fiefia – Live a Happy Life and Ke ta’ofi ‘a e fakamamahi ‘i ha feitu’u pe – Stop violence anywhere.
This has become an annual event since 2012 aimed at involving children so that they will learn not to use any form of violence against others.
The Guest of honour, Police Commissioner Steven Caldwell gave the keynote address. He thanked the parents, teachers and children for making the day a success. “Our children are our future, so as parents and teachers we should set good examples for them to follow. I am really inspired by the effort that you have made and it is important that they learn to live a life that is free of violence at home, in school or anywhere else” he stated. He also commended the work of WCCC.
According to the WCCC Staff Team Leader, Mrs Lesila Lokotui To’ia, “the composition of the chants were interesting and very straight forward, the teachers and the students really brought across the message. We create awareness among children at a very young age that we should Live a Happy Life and Stop Violence anywhere. I do hope that they will never become offenders or perpetrators of violence in the future.”
The chants and songs were directed to be within 3 to 5 minutes each and could be in either Tongan or English. The group was required to include a mix of girls and boys.
The winners of the Singing and Chanting were;
- First Prize TOP$2,000: Lapaha Primary School
- Second Prize TOP$1,000: Nuku’alofa Primary School
- Third Prize: TOP$500: ‘Atele Primary School
The same schools gained the same placing for the special prizes: best composition, best costume and the happiest, united, cooperative school. The best teacher award went to Mr. ‘Ioane Falekaono of GPS Lapaha.
The Chant Competition was funded by the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Program (PPDVP) and UN Women Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund.