Ending violence requires national effort: researcher
Eliminating violence against women and girls is a task that can only be achieved by a concerted effort from all segments of society, a researcher into family violence says.
Academic and National University of Samoa Senior Lecturer, Mailo Helen Tanielu told the Samoa Observer that ending violence could only be realised through the combined efforts of civil society, women’s movements, churches, villages, the Government and groups that work with men and boys.
Mailo is a Lecturer in Sociology at the Faculty of Arts and is currently pursuing Doctoral Studies at the National University of Samoa.
Her research areas include: Gender Based Violence; Violence against Women and Girlsin Samoa and the Pacific and Stress and Coping amongst Young People in Samoa.
Mailo was a speaker during a Faculty of Arts seminar series at the National University last month entitled: “Social relationships and Family violence in Samoa: Negotiating family and marriage in Samoan women’s perceptions of violence.”
Mailo said that she has a professional and personal understanding of this research area.
“It has always been an area that I have been interested in,” she said.
“My presentation centred on presenting my proposed research that looks at women’s perceptions in particular based around their ideals, not only as Samoan women but in their perception of what a Samoan woman should do and in their own agency that is being influenced by social structures in society.
“It is important to understand Samoan women and their status from a socio-cultural and historical framework that will set the context in which this research is based.
“[This research] will concentrate on Samoan women’s personal experiences within their family and marriage and how they negotiate these relationships in relation to their perceptions of violence and how these perceptions were constructed from a socio-cultural understanding of the world around them.
“Women’s agency [is] essentially affected by structures in society and having this understanding through a fundamental cultural lens will be featured as few studies have been done by Samoans on this particular aspect.
“The research is ongoing and not complete so the findings are not clear yet but the constructive feedback from my colleagues and other professionals at the seminar has made great contributions in enhancing my research.”
Mailo said that the importance of this research area was understanding the costs that violence imposes on survivors, their children, families and the community that have to support this.
“It has the ability to clearly inform relevant policies and intervention programs that are needed to combat and eliminate [violence against women].”
She said the research contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal in seeking to eradicate violence against women and helped create guidelines for future anti-violence programmes.
“Research is extremely important in understanding a particular issue, phenomenon, problem,” she said.
“[It] has set guidelines through which researchers follow together with ethical approvals, it is evidence based, and concrete with a structure that ensures concrete evidence is shown.
“My research areas include social and community health, drug and alcohol, stress and coping but my particular special area and the one which I also have a personal understanding of is in violence against women and girls.
“I have a civil society organisation understanding of this space in my role in the Civil Society Organisation National Reference group for the Spotlight Initiative in Samoa.”
(The Spotlight initiative is a joint programme from the European Union and the United Nations designed to eliminate violence against women and girls.)
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