In this month’s newsletter we have dedicated a section to rape and sexual assault in the hope that it will raise awareness on its severity and encourage you to speak out on zero tolerance to rape and sexual assault, help out victims and survivors you may come into contact with and show your support by passing this newsletter to as many friends and family in Tonga as you can.

Rape is an act of violence; it involves asserting control over another person and taking their power from them.

Rape and sexual assault can happen to women from two months old to ninety years old. Global statistics tell us that 98% of rape and sexual assault is committed by men. According to previous accounts of rape, rapists chose women based on their vulnerability, not on their physical appearance.  Rapists use a person’s sexuality against her will. Rape is most often a premeditated crime; IT IS NOT about men who cannot control their sexual desires.

It is also wrong to think that rape and sexual assault is committed by strangers who jump out of bushes or wait in dark places for their victims. Over 80% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

The WCCC believes that, of all the crimes reported in Tonga to the Police, the most underreported crime — by far — is Rape and Sexual Assault.

We believe at the WCCC that this is because of the many myths surrounding rape and sexual assault as well as the processes and procedures of reporting which can be a total discouragement to many young girls and women in Tonga.

There needs to be safe spaces in our police stations, hospitals and NGO service providers to ensure that survivors will be given access in the most efficient and effective manner.