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.

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