We were devastated to learn recently that one of the beautiful girls we support had been sexually assaulted repeatedly over a number of years. Her story is not uncommon. Our Fiji Coordinator Urmila took her into her home while she went the through the reporting process and she is now safe and beginning the long journey of healing.
What we know for sure is that abuse thrives on girls keeping quiet, not speaking out, not understanding what their rights are and being afraid of what would happen if they ever ‘betrayed’ their perpetrator.
This secrecy keeps them vulnerable and ripe for exploitation.
On Monday Urmila will be facilitating a workshop for our girls and their families to talk about the harsh realities of sexual abuse and the growing incidence of trafikking of young girls in the islands. In the area that we work, 3 sisters went missing some years ago, many thought they had been killed, it is now thought they were sold.
Social Welfare, the local Police and a representative for the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre will be there to get the discussion going and empower the girls, so full of potential, to speak out and help their friends to. This network of agencies is starting to work together well in Fiji and we want to create a safe space for girls to tell their stories and be supported.
We are grateful to North Sydney Sunrise Rotary for their donation to the costs of the workshop and we are planning to make it an annual event, open to the local high schools in the rural area where we work.
Our hope is that as we start to name this issue for what is it, young girls can find the courage to speak out and protect themselves, and find people they can trust to stand with them as advocates of the safe, happy childhood they deserve.
We’d love you to join the journey.
Jane for team ‘a Girl & her world’