“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.