"Solution to violence lies with families"

The solution to addressing violence against women and children lies with families.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi said this during his weekly media conference last Thursday, as public debate continues after the Office of the Ombudsman and various partners held a roundtable on the issue.

“The dialogue between church ministers and the Office of the Ombudsman, there was so much blaming going around yet violence is everyone’s problem. Ending of violence against children and women starts within families,” he said.

Reminding Samoans of the sacredness of marriage, describing it as “God’s masterpiece of creation”, Tuilaepa said lust also led to marriage problems and violence.

“Having extra martial affairs has led women to pour hot boiled water on their husbands.” 

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Therefore, addressing violence should start within families, added the P.M., and parents should intervene if and when their children become violent. 

“When parents hear their children and spouses argue, they should address it then and there. Also the family chief should call in the couple and counsel them as chiefs do.

“You should open your mouth and talk to your children when there is domestic violence situation. The church minister also has a role to play and must counsel the couple, just as well with the chiefs,” he said.  

Tuilaepa also expressed concern at increasing incidences of fathers having sexual relations with their step-daughters. “Even the church ministers are well aware of the issues faced by families in the denomination and so the question that comes to mind: where are the parents, chiefs and church ministers—then the problem becomes the Government’s (in terms of) solutions. 

“The police step in to arrest the predator or the wife beater—yet 90 per cent of the time, there is blame game going around—when the solution is there,” he said.

According to the P.M., there are mechanisms in place to address the issue—involving the parents, chiefs and church ministers—hence it is everyone’s responsibility to address the issue. 

“By the time the police arrive at the scene, its damage has been done and that is why parents, chiefs and church ministers have an important role in the village and families,” he added.

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