26 Nov 2015

Willingness to speak out behind high Pacific gender abuse figures

6:31 pm on 26 November 2015

The director general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says a growing awareness of gender violence is why abuse figures are now so high.

Reports indicate up to 70 percent of Pacific women have experienced physical or sexual abuse at some point.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga told a White Ribbon Day event yesterday, marking the start of 16 Days of Action, that gender violence eats away in Pacific families.

He says it is hidden away like a cancer but people are now more willing to speak out.

"With increasing awareness and White Ribbon Day being one of those days and the general work of women's groups, there is more awareness. So I don't have recent figures but I suspect it [gender abuse] has always been there, it is just that we are more aware of it now and it remains a huge problem in the Pacific region."

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