Providing Safety for Girls

Pela* grew up with her little sister in one of the outer islands. They moved to the main island when their mother married a man in Tongatapu. Pela is 13 and her sister is 11. They don’t go to school. Pela and her sister stayed home with their mum and stepfather. The plantation was being looked after by their stepfather. After a few months in Tongatapu, their stepfather’s behaviour changed. He always asked Pela to go to the plantation with him where he raped her. She was very scared and could not call for help, because he told her if she said a word he would kill her. He threatened to do the same to her little sister if she told anyone. So she stayed silent. Pela lived in fear for months, and found out her stepfather was doing the same to her little sister. They were both very scared of him, and they didn’t know how to tell their mum. Pela’s mum found out after a woman who was having an affair with her husband told her that she knew what he had been doing with the daughters. Pela’s mum was shocked and asked the girls if it was true. They told her everything that he had done.

Pela’s mum went straight to WCCC to seek help. The Counsellor told them about WCCC’s services including the police officer stationed at the centre, and they filed a statement at the WCCC office. The 2 girls stayed at the Safehouse for a few months until their court hearing. All the staff of the WCCC worked together with the Police Department for the safety of these two sisters. The stepfather was arrested and pleaded guilty. He died while in prison waiting for sentencing. The family moved back to the outer island. The Centre is still in contact with them to provide ongoing counselling.

*The name of the client have been changed to protect the clients’ identity.