Vanuatu has been voted twice in the New Economics Foundations Happy Planet Index as the Happiest Place on Earth, but that has been proven wrong by the Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC) as their recent survey revealed that Vanuatu has a high rate of domestic violence with a prevalence rate of 60%.
Speaking during the “Break the Silence. End the Violence” campaign this week, Vola Matas, who is the legal officer of the VWC revealed alarming statistics of women and girls who were being abused, according to their recent survey.
“6 out of 10 women suffer from physical and sexual violence. 7 out of 10 women suffer from psychological violence. 5 out of 10 women experience physical or sexual assault by non-partners as they reach 15 years old. 3 out of 10 girls experience sexual abuse before reaching 15 years old.”
She made mention also that two teenage girls died in the months of September and October this year as a result of domestic violence.
She continued, “90% of the offenders in the Correctional facilities have committed offenses that violate the rights of females such as rape, incest and other sexual offenses”.
While VWC appreciated the effort led by relevant authorities in addressing violence against women, Ms. Matas, however, suggested that such issue should not be addressed only this week, but everyday and by everybody.
To Churches, communities, NGOs, individuals, sports institutions, provincial governments, and the Vanuatu government, the VWC concluded, “Domestic violence is a Criminal offense under the Family Protection Act. Therefore, necessary institutions should address the criminality of the behavior as they do to other criminal offenses.