November 25, 2012 – Around one in every three women in the world over will be physically or sexually abused at some point in their life; one in four children bear witness to domestic or gender violence. In some Pacific countries, the statistics are worse.
According to the World Bank's 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development, between 60 and 70 per cent of women in Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu report experiencing some form of domestic violence.
The Pacific region has some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world. A 2008 WHO survey found that 23 per cent of women in Kiribati reported abuse during pregnancy, while 68 per cent of women aged 15-49 experienced violence from an intimate partner.
According to Merilyn Tahi, Coordinator of the Vanutu’s Women’s Center, “We also have to look into our cultural and traditional practice to address violence again women.” She explained that, “In some Vanuatu cultures, on the day of the wedding, women are told about their roles and that they cannot tell what happens at home outside the house. And they believe that is culture.”