I have contemplated on commenting on many issues for this months’ newsletter.

But an issue that is really hitting at the core of my heart is the issue of rape and sexual assault on young girls here in Tonga.

It is disheartening for me to report that we have seen an increase in the reporting of rape and sexual assault to the centre.

The impact of rape and sexual assault on a young girl in Tonga is severe.  The impact on her self-value, her self-esteem, her education, her health, her dreams and goals in life all crushed in the one or sometimes years of horrific sexual abuse.

I also think about the young victims and survivors who don’t have the courage, opportunity or who feel that they don’t have the right to tell anyone or report it.  It pains my heart.

As a mother of three young girls, I am committed 101% together with the many dedicated staff here at the WCCC to provide on-going services and support to these victims.  We believe and promote zero tolerance to Violence Against Women and children.

We also believe that our culture and Tongan-way of respect and humility should not be used as an excuse to reconcile and to decide what is best for the victim’s life or to accept a level of violence within out families.

We believe in the survivor and support her right to speak up.

I encourage you to do the same.  If you know of anyone who is a victim and survivor of rape or sexual assault in Tonga, now is the time to begin talking about these difficult issues.