WCCC Media Release 4 – Male Advocacy Stage 2 Training on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

 

SEX IS NOT A TABOO TOPIC

 [NUKU’ALOFA 24 AUGUST 2017] Sex is not a topic that is easily talked about in Tonga because of cultural and religious restrictions, yet with all the restrictions surrounding the topic, the number of sexual violations against women and girls tends to be on the increase. “If sex is a taboo topic and we revere it as something sacred that can be discussed between a husband and wife, then how do we explain the high number of teenage unwanted pregnancies, the increase in sexually transmitted diseases and the increase in reported sexual violations including rape and incest?” asked Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) Director, ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki.

Discussions around Men and Sex was one of the key topics of Day 4 of the Male Advocacy Training on Ending All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls, Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights.  “when it comes to sex, unfortunately women are often used as sexual objects and are seen as such, she is not seen as a human, and when this is the case the woman in the relationship must follow all instructions, i.e. when and how the man wants it, and the sexual relationship then becomes the man’s domain and the women’s feelings and wants is disregarded,” said lead trainer Melkie Anton to the group of men attending the second stage of the training.

The three key messages for male advocates to promote about men and sex are: men do have control over how they behave sexually, all sexual activity should be by mutual consent, and men are equally responsible for contraception and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.  “You must also understand that in a situation where the woman does not want to have sex but you continue to persist and persuade her to have sex, this is a high risk situation as it can be considered sexual assault or rape, and you cannot use the justification that as a man you couldn’t control your urges” said Guttenbeil-Likiliki to the group.

Tito Kivalu, who is one of the inaugural six male advocates of the WCCC, gave the men a scenario: “if you are sexually aroused and have the mentality that as a man you cannot control your sexual urges and you are about to have sex with your wife or girlfriend in your house and the house is set alight and a fire breaks out – will you continue to have sex or will you stop and run in fear for your safety?  The same goes if you are about to have sex and your child or a relative knocks on your door or walks in unannounced to your house – do you continue or stop almost immediately?”  It soon became obvious to the men attending the training that it is indeed possible for a man to control how he behaves sexually.

Other issues discussed by the men was the fact that men are often in competition in relation to sex where they are only interested in proving to their masculinity to peers and friends by bragging and boasting about how many women they have had sexual relations with as opposed to creating or developing intimate and mutually respectful relationship with one woman, again a clear example of viewing woman as just a sexual object.  According to one male participant, “sex is biblical and if we are true Christians as we like to profess we must then do according to what is said in the bible, that sex should be an act experienced between husband and wife based upon respect, love and mutual consent, and both parties must enjoy the act and now just one, when this is not the case, the sexual activity then is unbiblical,” said one male participant.

The second stage is financially supported by Australian Aid (DFAT), UNWomen Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund and the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) [ENDS]

For more information please contact Tupou Mahe Lanumata on 22240.

Group work 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WCCC Media Release 3 – Male Advocacy Stage 2 training on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

A DEEPER LOOK AT MEN’S VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

[NUKU’ALOFA 23 AUGUST 2017] Coercive Control was the focus of the Male Advocacy Training on Day 3, currently being held in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.  The men were taken through the four main aspects of coercive control; violence, intimidation, control and isolation.  Each aspect was unpacked and looked at deeper by the participants whilst at the same time relating the examples discussed back to gender and women’s human rights.  The Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) counselling staff were present to give real case studies in Tonga so that the men could contextualize coercive control examples and address the key points arising from the case.

Coercive control violence can cover situations where a man beats up his wife if he sees her talking to other men – even if the wife is talking to a male work colleague.  Or it could be where a man forces his wife to watch pornography and demands that his wife perform the acts that she sees in the film and if she disagrees, she gets bashed up or raped.  Or where a man beats up his wife causing obvious physical injuries so that it can prevent her from going to a particular event that she was planning to go to.

Intimidation examples discussed by the men covered situations where a man ruins any opportunity for his wife to get a promotion at work by refusing to let her attend meetings after hours, or meetings to the outer islands or regional meetings.  Or where a man tells his wife that she is ugly, stupid, no good in bed or a useless cook and that if she left him no other man would want her.  Or where the man turns up to his wife’s workplace unannounced and hangs around outside or where he calls and texts her threatening messages, for example, “if you don’t come out at 4:30pm on the dot you’re going to get it!”

Examples of control covered situations where a man locks his wife in the house or the bedroom when he leaves the house or where he controls the amount of food that is consumed by his wife.  Or where the man constantly checks his wife’s mobile, emails and other forms of communication, keeps control of her finances by keeping her ATM card and where the wife must get prior approval from her husband before she is to spend any money.  Other examples also covered situations where the man controls what his wife or girlfriend wears, or where he actually destroys her clothes by ripping it or burning it, insists to take her to work each day and insists to pick her up from work and if he calls her at any time of the day she must answer the call by the second ring or third ring.  Or where the man threatens to file for custody of the children if she decides to leave him.

In terms of isolation, the men discussed examples where a man tells his wife that she is not beautiful as other woman in the village or in the choir and that he is ashamed of how how ugly she is so she is told to stay home.  Or where a man uses verses from the bible to justify keeping her at home, disconnects the telephone or takes her mobile phone away from her, turns off the radio when women’s programs come on, for example the Fanguna Radio program.  Other examples looked at included situations where a husband prevents his wife from visiting her own family and cuts her off from her some of her closest friends and doesn’t allow them to visit her or where he doesn’t allow his wife to be part of women’s groups in the village.

According to one of the participants, Tapinga Lavemaau, “I now realize the different ways of coercive control and its huge damage to the lives of women just of that mentality that we have as a men towards women and we use that power to control over them and to me is a huge problem in the family and our society especially in relationship as husband and wife or girlfriend and boyfriend. I wish men realize how that power violates the rights and the lives of women, and to me husband and wife should have an equal relationship because we men and women were born with equal rights in the image of God and we should be treated equally.”

Siua Mafile’o, “The woman has been beaten, threaten to kill and locked up or isolated from everyone … by listening to all the discussion we have since day one on violence against women and the case studies we listen to from the Crisis Centre, it’s all go back to coercive control but we men have use many excuses to justify violence, and we need to change it and I know it will be hard because we were brought up to believe that we men must be in control all the time.”

The second stage is financially supported by Australian Aid (DFAT), UNWomen Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund and the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) [ENDS]

For more information please contact Tupou Mahe Lanumata on 22240.

Participants at Tungi Colonnade Conference Room Level 2, Day 3.

WCCC Medial Release 2 – Male Advocacy Stage 2 Training on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

“YOU WILL NEED TO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A MALE ADVOCATE – ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO THAT?ASKS LEAD TRAINER

[NUKUALOFA 22 August 2017] Being a Male Advocate on Ending All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls, Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights is not an easy role in fact you have to be prepared to feel uncomfortable because we will be taking a deep look at our male privileges, our power and how use that to control women,” said Lead Trainer, Melkie Anton, to the group of men participating in the second stage of the Male Advocacy Training in Nuku’alofa.  From the first Male Advocacy training held in Tonga in 2007 with approximately 40 men, a total of 8 men showed interest to continue and successfully completed all three stages in Fiji.  With the second recruitment and all the 3 stages now taking place in Tonga this year, a total of 35 men commenced in May and 20 have shown commitment to continue with stage two.

 

The second day of the training focused on how culture and religion has been wrongly used to justify gender inequality.  The male participants were challenged to re-look at cultural practices that places women in an inferior position to men.  One of the topics the men found interesting to unpack was the practice of the ‘Api – a cultural ritual performed during the wedding ceremonies where the bride’s virginity is tested and a blood stain sheet is produced as evidence.  The discussion was put on hold while a quick basic 101 on the women’s reproductive system to debunk the myths around the ‘breaking of a women’s virginity’ was undertaken with the men.  There was a sense of surprise in the room when the men’s perception of virginity resulted in a various myths and misconceptions, for example the view that every woman bleeds during the first experience of intercourse, “in fact fewer than half of all woman bleed during the first time they have sex, which means a lot of women don’t bleed at all,” said ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, WCCC Director to the group of men.

According to one male participant, “Why do we test women’s virginity (‘Api) before marriage and we don’t care about the man’s sexual history, he could have several sexual relationships and children before marriage but no one cares about that – all we care about is testing the woman’s virginity to the point that where a man knows that his wife was not a virgin when they married he will use that against her until she dies and is buried – he will remind her of that every time they have a dispute – our expectations and testing of a woman’s virginity and not having any expectations on the man is unfair on the woman – is this aspect of culture still required?”

The discussions continued in the same spirit when it came to religion,”….many men wrongly use the bible for their own personal advantage and where they can benefit from it to keep power and control over their wives….we need to read our bible more and study the texts to be able to challenge these limited types of interpretations because the texts often used to place women in a lesser position is not studied or looked at in its entirety and because many people don’t read the bible they then accept what they are taught and never question it…..” another participant agreed and said that as Christians we need to really ask ourselves what are our core principles, “….are we followers of Christ? Or are we followers of men? … If we are real followers of Christ, i.e. Christians – then why is there so much violence against women and children in Tonga? Simple, because we are followers of men and men’s power and control – why are we still holding on it it? Who is benefiting from men’s power and control?”

Anton then took the men through some practical sessions on how to respond to the justifications given against the achievement of gender equality, women’s human rights and the fight to end all forms of violence against women and girls, “you have some scenarios in front of you and you have to now put into practice what you have taken on board and test your ability to respond effectively to statements made by people who are closet to you, people whom you work with, go to church with and anyone you come across that will challenge the idea of gender equality and what you have learned here – sometimes that can really make you feel uncomfortable and that’s a good thing, it means your committed,” said Anton.

Melkie Anton is from Papua New Guinea and was part of the inaugural group of Pacific men who worked closely together with the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) to develop the home grown Male Advocacy initiative over a period of 4-5 years. Part of the inaugural group of Pacific Male Advocates are six men from Tonga who will also be assisting with the second stage training.

The second stage is financially supported by Australian Aid (DFAT), UNWomen Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund and the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) [ENDS]

 For more information please contact Tupou Mahe Lanumata on 22240.

 

 

 

Media Release – Male Advocacy Training Stage 2 on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

“ANY FORM OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS IS WRONG”

SAYS PROMINENT CHURCH LEADER

 

[NUKU’ALOFA 21 August 2017] “Any form of Violence against women and girls is wrong and must not be tolerated,” said Rev. Dr. Tu’ipulotu Katoanga at the opening of the second stage of the Male Advocacy Training on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls this week in Tonga.

Speaking as the Guest of Honour, Rev. Dr. Katoanga emphasized three main points from his perspective as a renowned Church Leader in Tonga; that violence against women and girls in all its forms is wrong and must not be tolerated, that every man irrespective of his social economic status must play a role in ending violence against women and girls and that all organizations both government and non-government and churches must be actively involved in planning and running programs to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

Rev. Dr. Katoanga also presented a challenge by stating that there is not one type of perpetrator but that anyone, even those closest to us, can be a perpetrator, “I could be one, you could be one, your minster or pastor or any other type of man you can think of could be one and for those of us who think we are not but we stand by and say nothing or do nothing when violence happens against a women we are actually perpetrating the violence if not directly but indirectly, we are.”

Those attending the opening ceremony including the men taking part in the second stage training were reminded by Rev. Dr. Katoanga that violence against women and girls is not just one kind or type of violence but that it covers domestic or physical violence, verbal violence and mental health violence and that it can happen anywhere; at home, within the extended family, in the workplace, in the village and community, “with that said, we all need to join the fight in ending violence against women and girls, I have seen the statistics and have read the case studies from the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) and I must admit I am shocked and speechless to read about the experiences of our own women here in Tonga – we must not be ashamed in dealing with this – we must not lose heart – we must join in the fight to put an end to the violence women and girls face in Tonga.”

Before officially declaring the opening of the second stage training, Rev. Dr. Katoanga thanked the WCCC for going the extra mile to help women and children survivors of violence in Tonga who have sought assistance and help from the centre, “this work I can only imagine comes with its challenges and at times you may feel there is no recognition and acknowledgement but I am sure they are acknowledged by God who knows how much work you all do to put an end to this problem in Tonga.”

Leading the second stage of the Male Advocacy Training in Tonga is Melkie Anton from Papua New Guinea who was part of the inaugural group of Pacific men who worked closely together with the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) to develop the home grown Male Advocacy initiative over a period of 4-5 years.  Part of the inaugural group of Pacific Male Advocates are six men from Tonga who will also be assisting with the second stage training.

The second stage is financially supported by Australian Aid (DFAT), UNWomen Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund and the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) [ENDS]

 For more information please contact Tupou Mahe Lanumata on 22240.

 

 

 

The Guest of Honour, Rev. Dr. Tu’ipulotu Katoanga and invited guest and participants

L-R Lepolo Mahe Taunisila, Guest of Honour and 'Ofa Likiliki

 

WCCC Media Release – Educate Students Through Chanting

MEDIA RELEASE

 

Educate Students Through Chanting

 

[NUKU’ALOFA 1 May 2017] Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) conducted for the fist time its Stop Bullying and Violence at School and Anywhere Else Chanting Campaign to a crowd of thousands at Teufaiva Stadium on Friday 28th of April, the last day of the inter-college sports competition.

The chanting campaign was designed as a pilot according to WCCC Director, ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, “The inter-collegiate sports is a wonderful opportunity to create a meaningful impact by working with thousands of students over a tight timeframe with one clear message about non-violence – we use the chanting campaign strategy with primary school students and it works well so we decided to test it out with the secondary school level in the hope that we can continue this every year.” The chanting campaign is a key primary prevention strategy of WCCC in trying to educate students to stop all forms of bullying and violent behaviours at school and anywhere else but to promote peaceful relationship between them.

The chanting campaign was successful and the Honourable Minister of Education, Penisimani Fifita acknowledged and awarded the leading chants and composers and a special request was made by the Honourable Prime Minister, ‘Akilisi Pohiva for the leading chants to perform their chants in front of him and other ministers of the Crown including Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni, Hon. Minister of Health, Saia Piukala, Hon. Minister of Police, Mateni Tapueluelu and Hon. Minister of Public Enterprises , Poasi Tei.

The leading chants;

1st Place overall:  Queen Salote College  – $1000

2nd Place overall: Tonga College, ‘Atele  – $700

3rd Place overall: ‘Api Fo’ou College – $500

Queen Salote College also won the Best composition ($200), Best costume ($200) and the Best cheer leader was taken by Malia Losa also of Queen Salote College ($200)

The panel of judges were the Director of WCCC, ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil Likiliki, Senior Constable ‘Anamalia ‘Aho from the Ministry of Police, Ms Ebonie Fifita from On the Spot organisation, Ms Melemanu Bloomfield from the Taimi ‘o Tonga media organisation, Mr. Tito Kivalu a Propation Officer from Ministry of Justice and also a Male Advocate of WCCC and Rev. ‘Ikani Tolu from the Free Weslyan Church Life Line.

The leading chants will be used regularly during the WCCC Fanguna Radio Program.

The Stop Bullying and Violence at School and Anywhere Else Chanting Campaign was funded by UN Women Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund.

[ENDS]

 

WCCC Media Release – Great opportunity for Prime Minister to appoint a female to Ministerial post

WCCC MEDIA RELEASE

 

Great opportunity for Prime Minister to appoint a female to Ministerial post

 [NUKU’ALOFA 10 February 2016] There is no better time than the present for the Prime Minister to consider appointing a female to a Ministerial portfolio, following the dismissal of ‘Etuate Lavulavu from his Ministerial portfolio.

A little more than 12 months ago, Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva received his first petition from the public calling for the appointment of women to Ministerial posts.  This came after no woman was elected into parliament following the 2014 General Elections.  The petition asked that the PM use his prerogative under the law to appoint up to four Ministerial posts externally.

In response to the petition holding 416 signatures gathered less than 48 hours, the PM told the petitioners to come up with legislation to change the situation in preparation for the next general elections.

In Tonga’s Political history the late Queen Salote and her government had given women the right to vote and stand as candidates since 1951. From 1951, it took 8 parliamentary terms or another 24 years before we saw the first women elected into Parliament and that was HRH Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu in 1975-1978 as one of the People’s Representatives from Tongatapu

  • Three years later in 1978-1981 or the next parliamentary session – the second women elected into parliament, People’s Representative of Tongatapu, Papiloa Foliaki
  • From 1981, 14 years later for the period of 1995-1998: the third women elected into parliament and first women to be elected as PR to the Niuas, ‘Ofa Fusitu’a
  • From 1998, seven years later for the period of 2005-2008: the fourth and currently the last women elected into parliament – Niuas PR, Lepolo Mahe Taunisila
  • and in the last two general elections under the new democratic reforms no women have been elected in, so we could say that from 2008 (the last elections under the old system) plus the 2010 and 2014 general election a total of 6 years we have no women elected into parliament by the people

So in summary since 1951 up until the last general elections held in 2014 a total of 63 years, there have only ever been four women elected by the people into parliament.

A group that has been formed on Facebook called TONGAN WOMEN IN ACTION is a social network open to all Tongan women in Tonga, New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom and the diaspora, women living or residing in Tonga and male friends, colleagues, partners who support the cause of increasing women’s political participation. Their one mission: To build solidarity amongst women in progressing women’s political participation in Tonga. Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) and one of the facilitators of the groups says that the WCCC has been undertaking research into the what best model for Tonga would look like in terms of affirmative action and Temporary Special Measure, “yes we are doing research and we won’t have the results and recommendations ready until the later part of this year – but this is a great opportunity – right now – for the PM to re-look at the possibilities emerging out of the current situation to appoint a female to a Ministerial post”, says ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki.

[ENDS]

 

Faingamalie lelei ki he Palemia ke ne fokotu’u ha fefine

ki he tu’unga Minisita

[NUKU’ALOFA 10 Fepueli 2016] Ko e taimi lelei taha pe eni ‘ae lolotonga ni ke ngaaue’aki ‘ehe Palemia ‘a hono mafai ke fokotu’u ki he ‘Ene ‘Afio ha fefine kihe lakanga Minisita ‘e taha ‘i he ‘ene Kapineti ‘i he mahino mai kuo tuku ki tu’a ‘a ‘Etuate Lavulavu mei hono lakanga Minisita.

‘I ha ki’i taimi nounou ‘i he mahina ‘e 12 kuohili, na’e ma’u ai ‘e he ‘Eiki Palemia ‘a e fuofua tohi tangi mei he kakai ke fili ha fefine ki he lakanga Minisita. Na’e hoko eni hili ia ‘a e ‘ikai ke fili ha fefine ki Fale Alea ‘i he Fili ‘o e 2014. Koe tohi tangi, ko e kole ki he Palemia ke ne ngaue’aki hono mafai ‘i he malumalu ‘o e lao ke fili ha lakanga Minisita ‘e toko 4 mei tu’a.

‘I he tali ki he tohi tangi na’e fakamo’oni ki ai ‘ae toko 416 ‘i hono tanaki pe ‘i loto ‘i he houa ‘e 48, na’e me’a ai ‘a e Palemia ki he ni’ihi na’a nau fakahu atu ‘a e tohi tangi ke nau fokotu’u mai ha lao ke liliu ‘aki ‘ae tu’unga ‘oku ‘i ai ke fai ha vakai ki ai ki mu’a pea toki fakahoko ‘ae fili falealea hoko.

‘I he hisitolia fakapolitikale ‘a Tonga, ko e pule’anga ‘o Kuini Salote kuo unga fonua, na’a ne ‘oange ‘a e totonu ma’ae kakai fefine kenau fili pea ke nau hoko ko ha kanititeiti ‘i he 1951. Mei he 1951, ko e to’u fili falealea fakakatoa ‘e 8 pe koe toe ta’u ‘e 24 ia kimu’a pea tau toki a’usia hono fili ha fefine ki Fale Alea ‘a ia ko Pilinisesi Mele Siu’ilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili ‘ihe 1975-1978 ke hoko ko e taha ‘o e kau fakafofonga ‘o e kakai ‘o Tongatapu;

  • Hili ha ta’u ‘e 3 mei ai, ‘i he 1978-1981 pe ko e to’u fili hono hoko, na’e fili ai ‘a e fefine hono ua ki falealea, ko e fakafofonga ‘o e kakai ‘o Tongatapu, Papiloa Foliaki
  • Mei he 1981, hili ia ‘a e ta’u ‘e 14 mei he ta’u 1995-1998, na’e fili ai ‘a e fefine hono tolu ki Fale Alea pea ko e fakafofonga ‘o e kakai kihe ongo Niua, ‘Ofa Fusitu’a
  • Mei he 1998, hili ia ‘a e ta’u ‘e 7 mei he 2005-2008, ko e fefine hono fa ia pea ko e fefine fakamuimui taha ia kuo fili ki Fale Alea, pea na’a ne hoko ko e fakafofonga ‘o e kakai ‘o e ongo Niua, Lepolo Mahe Taunisila
  • pea ‘i he ongo to’u fili ‘e ua kuo’osi ‘i he fa’unga temokalati fo’ou, na’e ‘ikai ha fefine ‘e fili ki loto. Ko ia ai, ‘e lava ke tau pehe, mei he 2008 (ko e fili fakamuimui taha ‘i he fa’unga pule’anga motu’a) tanaki atu ki ai ‘a e to’u fili ‘o e 2010 mo e 2014, ko e ta’u fakakatoa ia ‘e 6 na’e ‘ikai ai ha fefine ‘e fili ki Fale Alea ‘e he kakai.

Koia ‘i hono fakama’opo’opo talu mei he 1951 ‘o a’u mai ki he to’u fili fakamuimui taha ‘ihe 2014, ko e ta’u fakakatoa ia ‘e 63, pea ko e toko fa pe ai ‘a e kakai fefine kuo fili ‘e he kakai ki Fale Alea.

Na’e fo’u ha kulupu fengaue’aki fakasosiale ‘i he Feisipuka ‘o fakalea ko e KAKAI FEFINE TONGA KE NGAUE pe ‘i he faka-Pilitania TONGAN WOMEN IN ACTION, ‘o faka’ata ki ha fefine Tonga pe ‘i Tonga ni, Nu’u Sila, ‘Aositelelia, ‘Amelika, Pilitania mo ha feitu’u pe ‘oku nofo ai ha fefine Tonga, kaungame’a tangata, kaunga ngaue, hoa ngaue ‘oku teke mo poupou’i ke toe fakalakalaka ange ‘a e kau ‘a fefine ‘i he mala’e ‘o e politikale. Ko ‘enau misiona: Ke langa hake ke tu’u fakataha ‘ae uouongataha ‘a fafine ‘i hono fakalakalaka ‘enau kau atu ki he mala’e ‘oe politikale ‘i Tonga.

Fakatatau ki he Talekita ‘oe Women and Children Crisis Centre, ko e taha ‘o e kau Taki ‘o e fevahevahe’aki ‘i he kulupu ni, ‘oku fakahoko ‘e he Senita ‘a e fekumi pe ko e ha ha founga pe motolo lelei taha ma’a Tonga ‘i hono ngaue’aki ‘o ha sea fakataimi ma’a e kakai fefine ‘i he fili falealea, “’io ‘oku lolotonga fai ‘emau fekumi ki ai ka ‘e toki mahino ‘ae ola pea mo e ngaahi fokotu’u fakakaukau ‘i he konga kimui ‘o e ta’u ni, ka koe faingamalie lelei eni ‘i he lolotonga ni ma’a e Palemia ke ne toe vakai’i e faingamalie ko eni ‘e malava ai kene fokotu’u ha fefine ki he lakanga Minisita, ko e lau ia ‘a ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki.

[‘OSI]

WCCC holds a workshop on “Respectful and Healthy Relationship” with youth leaders

[NUKU’ALOFA 02 JUNE 2015]: The Women and Children Crisis Center conducted a two days’ workshop on “Respectful and Healthy Relationship,” with faith based and youth stakeholders leaders on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th, 2015 at Tungi Colonnade Conference Room.

Youth leaders had the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas of how to get and keep a respectful and healthy relationship. This two days workshop enabled participants to develop ten tips of how to have a respectful and healthy relationship. They came up with:

  1. Mutual respect
  2. Trust
  3. Honesty
  4. Support
  5. Equality
  6. Good communication
  7. Separate identities
  8. Spirituality
  9. Selfless
  10. Life goes on

“In order to have a respectful and healthy relationship, I have to respect my partner, build the trust between us and treat him/her as my equal”, shared Sesilia Fahiua.

Part of the discussion on the two days workshop was looking at ways of how the message will reach out to the public. One of the participants, Polikalepo Kefu  willingly  volunteered to create a facebook page to update this  dialogue  onto, and enable the young generation to share their ideas, experiences and raise any issue  of  concern  for  open, honest  and constructive discussion . “Nowadays, social media is very popular with the young generation and this is the best way we can use to address and update this important  issue”, said Poli Kefu.

“This is an eye opener for me especially on gender and human rights. This is the first time for me to attend such workshop like this and aware of the centre’s work and I count it as a blessing, today I welcome WCCC to my life”, shared ‘Ofeina from the Mo’ui Fo’ou ‘Ia Kalaisi youth.

WCCC’s Team Leader, Lesila Lokotui To’ia was happy to say that the workshop was a success. “It equipped the participants with knowledge and understanding on how to deal with these issues especially as they are youth leaders in their communities. They  have an  important  role  to  play  in  our  youngsters’ lives, therefore  this  was  an  important  workshop  for  them. I  hope  that  they  will  be good role  models  and  have  positive impacts  on  our  young  ones’ lives.  It is also good to know that we will be working together with them in carrying out awareness programs to educate and help our young generations. They  will  also  assist  in  directing  youth  to  appropriate  places  on  where  to  get  support .”

The first day of the workshop focused on gender, human rights, domestic violence and child abuse. The second day focused on sexual harassment, rape, pornography and ended up with respectful and healthy relationship.

The workshop was facilitated by the WCCC’s Director, ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil Likiliki and Staff Team Leader, Lesila Lokotui To’ia.

This workshop was made possible through the financial assistance of UN Women Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund. [ENDS]

 

For more information please contact ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki on telephone 22 240 or through email on ofa.guttenbeil@gmail.com

Youth Leaders training group photo

WCCC COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2015

[NUKU’ALOFA 05 MARCH 2015]: The Women and Children Crisis Centre will host a woman’s only Singing and Dance competition to mark International Women’s Day known as ‘Fiefia Night’. It will be held at the Queen Salote College’s Hall on Friday 6th of March at 7:00pm.

The international theme for this year is “Make it Happen”. This event is a celebration and recognition of women throughout Tonga’s her-story and their outstanding achievements in all aspects of life. The event also provides a platform for older women to perform a solo-dance (tau’olunga) breaking cultural norms where the tau’olunga is reserved only for young, unmarried women, “we’re breaking the social cultural norms and giving older women the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate their womanhood and to showcase their many talents which is often buried under the fala once they get married,” says ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Diretor of the WCCC.

There are thirteen women’s groups competing for the Fiefia Night’s awards which includes;

  • A compulsory song (a composition of her late Majesty Queen Salote Tupou III: Sei ‘O Fafine) to be accompanied by a solo dance
  • A song composed specifically to the given theme (Make It Happen: National Gender and Development Policy)
  • A dance item from any country in the Pacific

The idea of having a composed song based on the Make It Happen theme is also to raise awareness amongst women’s groups, particularly grass roots women’s groups of the National Policy on Gender and Development as many are not or were not aware of the policy until this event, “it’s a great way of getting women to know about the policy and to understand the roadmap to gender equality because many times only those working in government and NGOs are aware of such policies – we have to get women to start feeling like this policy is theirs and not just government”, says Guttenbeil-Likiliki.

This competition is made possible through the financial assistance of UN Women Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund.

 

For more information please contact ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki on telephone 22 240 or through email on ofa.guttenbeil@gmail.com

“Come up with Legislation to Change the Situation:” ‘Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva

Press Release

[NUKU’ALOFA 08 JANUARY 2015]:  The Tongan Women in Action (TWAC) network currently administered by the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) welcomes the response of the Prime Minister for women to come up with legislation to change the situation of women’s political representation in parliament.

The response from the Prime Minister came following a petition that was submitted with 416 signatures calling for the PM to consider using his prerogative under the law to appoint a woman to a Ministerial Portfolio following the results of the General Elections where none of the female candidates were successful.

In Tonga’s Political history the late Queen Salote and her government had given women the right to vote and stand as candidates since 1951.  From 1951 – It took 8 parliamentary terms or another 24 years before we saw the first women elected into Parliament and that was HRH Princess Mele Si’ilikutapu in 1975-1978 as one of the People’s Representatives from Tongatapu

  • 3 years later in 1978-1981 or the next parliamentary session – the 2nd women elected into parliament – Tongatapu PR Papiloa Foliaki
  • From 1981 14 years later for the period 1995-1998:  the 3rd Women elected into parliament and first women to be elected as PR to the Niuas – ‘Ofa Fusitu’a
  • From 1998 7 years later for the period 2005-2008:  the 4th and currently the last women elected into parliament – Niuas PR Lepolo Mahe Taunisila
  • And in the last two general elections under the new democratic reforms no women have been elected in.  so we could say that from 2008 (the last elections under the old system) plus the 2010 and 2014 general elections a total a 6 years we have had no women elected into parliament by the people

So in summary since 1951 up until the last general elections held in 2014 a total of 63 years – there have only ever been four women elected by the people into parliament.

The Prime Minister’s response to the petition submitted to him on the 03 January 2015 is welcomed by the newly established TWAC network.  According to ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki Director of WCCC and voluntary facilitator of TWAC:  “the petition itself has generated a lot of public debate and it was certainly the hot topic of the first week of the year and it was the first petition given to the new Prime Minister which has worked in our favour as we have seen with his response.  We will definitely hold him accountable to this response,” says Guttenbeil Likiliki.

The TWAC network is open to all Tongan women in Tonga, NZ, Australia, USA, UK and the diaspora, women living or residing in Tonga and male friends, colleagues, partners who support the cause.  A FACEBOOK PAGE titled Tongan Women in Action is dedicated to the facilitation and administration of this group.  “Over the next four years TWAC has one mission: To build solidarity amongst women in progressing women’s political participation in Tonga. One of our priorities this year will be undertaking research into the what the best model for Tonga would look like in terms of affirmative action and temporary special measures”, says Guttenbeil-Likiliki.  [ENDS]