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Related stakeholders urged to end domestic violence

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 25/11/2019

The Salvation Army Regional Commander this morning highlighted the significance for men and young men to embrace their differences with women and young girls – as a way to eliminate violence against women and girls in Tonga. This morning, the Prime Minister officially launched the 16 Days of Activism, also White Ribbon day at a special program held in Nuku’alofa, hosted by the Women’s Affair Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In his opening remarks, the Salvation Army Regional Commander – Captain Sila Siufanga talked about marriage life and how women can be treated with respect, regardless of their differences.

God designed men and women to be different therefore, differences are good. Different in attraction which attracts you to each other. Young couples come to me for pre-marriage counselling and one of the questions is why did you choose her or him? I tell them, she is only 22 but she will be 65 with no more golden teeth but false teeth and in the morning, you will put her in a wheelchair. That is the reality of celebrating our difference. Oneness begins when we learn to embrace one another’s difference.”

Meanwhile, Acting CEO of the Ministry of Internal Affairs – ‘Onetoto ‘Anisi gave some word of encouragement to women participants at the program.

To every victim of domestic violence, your families, your friends, you are not alone. Tonga stands with you. May you be sustained by this solidarity and by the knowledge that we will not rest until you are safe.”

During the program, the Prime Minister launched the 16 days of Activism and White Ribbon Day to mark the international day of ending violence against women and girls.

Also attending the program was a representative from Tonga Rugby League – ‘Aisea ‘Aholelei and Tavake Fangupo from National Rugby League who shared about programs carried out to eliminate violence against women and girls in sports.

The program we are implementing at the Kolomotu’a rugby club is a simple one, is a one of inclusiveness. We try to abolish all the diverse barriers that segregates us – to bring them down – so that we could become better individuals in a more harmonious and peaceful society. And the way we believe this can be achieved is when the women, men and children, working, training and playing together. We are currently adopting a system that we believe that if the men and women teams are training together, the kids in the long run, will accept this as the norm that men can work with women and women can do what men do.”

This year, we launched Voice Against Violence program – our target audience was under 17 and under 17 rugby league kids and we took them to several schools and they played friendly games – and we’ve seen successful results from it in how they treat their moms and aunties, sisters and cousins in cases related to domestic violence.”

The Women’s Affairs Division, Ministry of Internal Affairs in collaboration with the Steering Committee for the 16 Days of Activism annually plan programs for this year which begins on the 25th of November with the marking of White Ribbon Day and ends on 10th December with the Human Rights Day.

The 16 Days of Activism is an international campaign for ending ‘Gender Based Violence’ against women and girls with programs aimed at creating greater awareness and inclusiveness on the issues of ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

The theme for this year is – “Orange the World Generation Equality. Engaging Men.

 

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