21 Feb 2003

Conference in Suva says domestic violence is rife in the South Pacific

11:13 am on 21 February 2003

A major regional conference in Suva has been told that domestic violence dominates the lives of many in the South Pacific.

It was told that in parts of Papua New Guinea an average of two thirds of wives are beaten by their husbands while in Samoa, the majority of men interviewed said they learned violent behaviour as children when they saw their fathers beat up their mothers.

The conference was run jointly by the Pacific Islands Forum, the UN Development Fund for Women and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

A survey from Samoa quoted participants as saying wives, especially young wives with children, required discipline if they disobeyed the husband or father of the family.

And more women than men believed that a husband was justified in beating his wife if she refused to have sex with him.