Minister Mulipola's remarks to launch 16 Days of Activism

By Mulipola Anarosa Molio'o 27 November 2023, 10:30PM

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I warmly welcome you all who are here today to witness the official launching of this year's "16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls", the annual international campaign kicks off on 25 November to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December - the Human Rights Day. The 16 Days of Activism is an initiative by individuals, groups and civil society organisations around the world supported by the United Nations. This year, Samoa once again joins the world to campaign under the slogan of "#NoExcuse" and the theme of "UNITE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls".

The Pacific has one of the highest recorded rates of violence against women and girls globally - with two out of three women subjected to physical and or sexual violence in their lifetimes1. The last national inquiry into family violence in Samoa in 2018 reaffirmed the need for intervention to address the alarming rates of family violence in Samoa. On children, 87 per cent of those covered in the inquiry experienced threats of violence in a family setting; 86 per cent had been subjected to kicking, punching and other assaults; 9.5 per cent of females reported having been raped by a family member in their lifetime. For adults - 86 per cent of women were subject to kicking, punching, slapping, or causing bodily harm using a hard object (rock, stick, tree trunk, hose etc); 87 per cent of women respondents were subject to yelling and harsh words; 24 per cent experienced choking; 87 per cent women experienced threats of physical violence or bodily hard.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are alarming rates. The economic cost of family violence is estimated to cost SAT$98 million to SAT$132 million or in the range of 6 per cent - 7 per cent of Samoa's GDP. Without interventions now, the costs will continue to increase. These percentages are good indicators, it shows that Samoa has to prioritise ending violence against women, girls and children. It is not only a deep-rooted social issue but an economic and financial burden on society and the government. I urge our stakeholders not to turn a blind eye to the importance of our social statistics in addition to economic statistics on gender-based violence affecting women, girls and children. The Bureau of Statistics also under our portfolio will prioritise this with all our relevant stakeholders going forward.

In support of the Government of Samoa's laws, rules, policies and conventions on violence against women and girls. The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development is committed to leading this campaign with the support of all government ministries and state-owned enterprises as well as working with all our stakeholders to champion the End Violence Against Women and Girls including the creation of strong partnerships with our established civil society organisations, law enforcers, development partners and the wider Samoa communities to make significant tailwinds to propel actions to End Violence Against Women and Girls beyond the 16 Days Activism campaign.

This year's 16 days of Activism activities will include awareness programs to be aired on radio, television, various online platforms, educational workshops covering parenting, story writing and poetry competitions and promotion. All focus on Ending Violence against women, girls and children and the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Ministry will work closely with its key stakeholders with the support of our development partners to implement the different Activism activities.

Whilst the work will continue beyond the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, Girls and Children in Samoa, it is a reminder that as Samoans our Christian and cultural values teach respect and the willingness to listen, understand and find ways to discuss and address the many economic and social issues faced by our people in homes, churches, villages and communities on a daily basis is a step in the right direction.

• May I ask the audience to please stand silently for a moment of reflection and respect for those mothers, daughters, sisters and children who have lost their lives from violence - words cannot express the grief their loved ones are going through, but through prayers, peace will overcome (A maea loa le minute toe nonofo loa i lalo)

• Please take your seats.

Thank you to all our stakeholders including the private sector, civil society, villages and all communities, our partners for their ongoing support and assistance through various ways to assist our Government in delivering effective services to assist and empower our communities nationwide to End Violence Against Women, Girls and Children at all levels. Special thanks to the United Nations, UN Women, UNICEF, the Spotlight Initiative and the Government of Australia through the TAUTUA facility for funding the various activities.

I declare the start of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, Girls and Children!

Soifua ma ia Manuia!

• The Minister for Women, Community and Social Development, Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molio'o delivered this speech on Monday 27 November 2023 at the Tooa Salamasina Hall, Sogi, Apia, Samoa to mark the launching of the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women, girls and children.  

By Mulipola Anarosa Molio'o 27 November 2023, 10:30PM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.