1st December 2017
From the High Commissioner's Desk -Stand with me against violence against women
All women everywhere have a right to live lives free of violence and free of the fear of violence.
Saturday 25 November marked the first day of 16 days of Activism on Ending Gender-Based Violence here in Honiara and around the world. It is a fitting time to reflect on how violence affects the lives of the women in our communities, and what we can do to stop it.
This year I am honoured to be a White Ribbon Supporter. White Ribbon is an international campaign where men commit to stand up, speak out and act against gender-based violence. It is a gross violation of human rights and is unacceptable, anywhere, anytime. It is to our collective shame that no country is free from it.
All of us have a duty to take a stand against violence against women. It is not an individual family’s issue, it is everyone’s business. It affects the whole community and the whole country. It stops women from fully participating in their communities and the economy. Violence against women and girls is also a major financial burden on countries, with additional spending required for health care, social services, policing and the justice system.
Ending violence against women and girls is a priority for Australia, both in Australia and internationally. We are committed to supporting the Solomon Islands Government’s multi-sectoral efforts. I commend Solomon Islands agencies for their work implementing the Family Protection Act. A lot has been achieved in the 18 months since the Act came into force, including prosecutions for the crime of domestic violence, the use of new protection mechanisms issued by police for women who have been subjected to violence, and the introduction of clinical guidelines for health professionals who work with survivors of violence. The Prime Minister’s commitment to reopening health facilities is another step towards ensuring survivors of violence have access to medical services.
Australia is proud to again support the Young Women’s Parliamentary Group annual Film Festival "Say it out loud" which showcases films telling the story and impact of domestic and gender based violence. The raw films remind everyone of the realities faced by some mothers, sisters, aunties, grannies, friends, colleagues and children. Our homes should be a place of safety and security, not fear and violence.
We must all speak up and speak out about this issue – to ensure that women enjoy lives free of violence and are able to fully participate in their communities and enjoy their human rights. I urge you all to stand with me.