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“Let what happened to me be deterrence…” – Frysna Rimoni

The Supreme Court’s decision to impose the longest jail sentence to date for an attempted murder conviction against Peter Tulaga could not be more appropriate.For a case that has already been described by Justice Tafaomalo Leilani Warren as the “worst case of intimate partner violence” she has encountered, the Court needed to send out a message that it does not condone such offending. The length of the sentence reflects that message.And with such a prominent member of the agricultural community being dealt the worst possible punishment he could have received, the alarm bells should be ringing for anyone else thinking of committing a similar crime.But here is the tragedy of it all. Even if Tulaga was jailed for life, it would not change anything as far as the victim in this matter goes.Indeed, the life of Frysna Rimoni, the woman who was savagely attacked by Tulaga in a furious rage, has been changed forever.It must be said while we’ve read some pretty disturbing stories from this case since it started in the Supreme Court, nothing prepared us for what was revealed in her Victim Impact Report, delivered by her sister, Seuamuli Sarona Rimoni.Keep in mind that when Frsyna gave evidence during the trial, the media was prohibited from being in the room and reporting on her evidence. Which means that until Seuamuli delivered the statement in Court last week, most of us had very little knowledge of just how gruesome Frysna’s injuries were.“I now face the reality of living as a blind person,” Frysna’s statement reads. “I wake up in darkness everyday unable to know the time. I turn on my wrist watch from the New Zealand Blind Foundation to tell me the time.”Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very tragic story. This is a woman who once had so much going for her, with a high profile job at the Pacific Forum Line (P.F.L.) and was studying towards a Masters in Fraud and Financial Crimes at the Charles Stuart University, Australia. A Council member of the Samoa Institute of Accountants (S.I.A.), she is also the co-founder of the Samoa Women Association of Growers (S.W.A.G.), where she enjoyed working on projects that empower and support women in agriculture.But all that changed very quickly so that today, Frysna is scarred for life.“I went to his house after work on 15 January 2019 to help him, given the suicidal messages he sent to me on that day,” she said.“He shot me instead. He had no regard for my life. To this day, he has shown no remorse.“I have lost my sense of smell. The doctors tell me they cannot say for sure if the nerves in my nose can grow back. I am breathing through my mouth. Due to my mouth being open all the time, there is foul odour coming from my mouth which is embarrassing. I have to constantly spray my mouth with medication, because it gets dry.”Frysna added that her loss of smell has affected her appetite and had lost more than 10 Kgs. A scar on the left side of her face, which she runs her fingers through everyday, is a constant reminder of her near death experience that she endured.“I often wonder what I look like,” she said. “Will I ever be beautiful again. Just a few weeks ago before I left the hospital, I have had to insert a coil inside my uterus to stop my menstrual cycles.“It dawned on me that aside from the little things, I cannot manage on my own. I am unable to care for myself, and anyone else. It is unlikely that I will ever experience motherhood. It breaks my heart.”Chilling stuff, truly heartbreaking.But Frysna ends it with a message we believe should be shared as widely as possible, to help all women and anyone else who could be going through a similar situation.Many people would be wondering why and how she survived. Frysna has answered that question herself.“At my weakest moments, I cry out to the Lord and ask Him why He let me live? I know it was the mere intervention of the Lord, miracles after miracles and by the grace of God that led me to this day, to tell my story,” she said.“I often ponder what the future holds for me. The future remains unclear. I trust that God has a plan for me since He saved my life. I have permanent physical disabilities that I have to live with for the rest of my life.”It was then she issued a warning to other “women who are living in silence and not speaking up against domestic violence.”“Let what happened to me be deterrence for all the men who resort to physical, emotional and psychological violence against women.“I hope and pray that what has happened to me sends a strong message to all women who are experiencing domestic violence, to act upon the first instance of warning signs that they are in danger.”We couldn’t agree more.Folks, there are lessons right across this most unfortunate case. But one that stands out very strongly is that domestic violence and intimate partner violence does not discriminate. Many of us often think that “modern women” with prominent careers and public profiles are immune. That’s not the case.Nothing could be further from the truth and the tragic story of Frysna is living proof. Let Frysna’s testimony and her incredible story of survival be the catalyst for change in Samoa today.

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Street Talk

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Views united on opposing having transgender athlete in women's competition

Well to me the Pacific Games can not do anything about it, because this person has played in other international events. Personally, I don't think it's a suitable thing to let that transgender be in the women’s division. He should compete against men, that's where Hubbard belongs.It's inappropriate. He was a man and he is still as strong as a man. Although he's already done the sex change, she still has a man's body. I really don’t agree with awarding the medal to this person. The Games Council should have ruled against it. For me it is not a good thing to have someone who is transgender, and changed from a man to a woman to compete in the women's division. The people who are organising the Games should have a good look at this get it sorted before the next Pacific Games. We are talking about the Pacific Games here, there is another element of culture and religion that has not been addressed. This is not right.For me I think its not really good for a transgender to compete in the women's division in weightlifting. Plus its not fair to the other women who are competing in that division, because their strengths are not the same and similar to the transgender athlete.This should never have been allowed to happen. To me, its not good for this transgender to compete in the women's competition, because she still has the strength of a man. There is a change in his sexual organs from male to female, but he still has man's bones and muscle that are superior to a woman's. This is a major mistake. Men and women athletes have different physique, and he has the masculine characteristics of a man and not a woman. The Pacific Games Council should address this issue of transgender competing in the women's division, it is not right. I think the only way forward is to have a transgender division, that way all our fa'afafine can compete. 

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Letter to Editor

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Fair play for women please

Dear Editor,There is an outcry in the ongoing South Pacific Games, unfair play.We have sports catered for male and female how is it that there is a third gender destroying women sports. Where is the fair play that we so proudly claim that our sports uphold?! For a transgender to be allowed to compete with women is beyond outrageous, only a fool will believe that a man who has undergone surgery for a sex change will fully become woman in bone structure and muscle mass. The truth is there is a huge disadvantage to women, men are stronger they have greater muscle mass; they have denser, stronger bones, tendons and ligaments. The hormones that transgender take to reduce testosterone levels does nothing to reduce their strength advantage over women.For New Zealand to push their transgender athletes into the South Pacific Games arena is foul play. Have the rules been changed? Have the South Pacific Games committee put into place rules that allow transgender to compete in the women’s category? I doubt it. We should put forward a protest to this unfair practice before it becomes the norm. Just because the outside world claim it is right does not mean that the Pacific should go along with this stupidity. If they want to compete then they can have their own transgender competitions.For so long we have fought for women’s rights and now we are witnessing the eroding of those rights. If we do not act now, there will no longer be any women’s sport in the future it will be dominated by transgenders. God created male and female, two genders not three.Leutogitupaitea

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