SOTP2015: Ending Violence Against Women
Violence against women is widespread and highly prevalent in the Pacific. Women suffer considerable pressure to conform to culturally defined norms and roles and those who step outside of these roles or breach these norms are subject to sanctions and sometimes violence. The expectation that women should obey their husbands is widespread and violence is often considered entirely appropriate for even the most minor failure of wives to fulfil their perceived marital duties and proprieties. Scholars generally situate violence against women in the context of the unequal relations of power that exist between men and women and explain such violence as an effort to maintain control over women. Some commentators have suggested that male angst and confusion in the face of rapid change have led to violence against women. Changes, such as the constitutional recognition of rights of equality, the availability of education and new career opportunities, have brought a new independence to women that disturbs the traditional gender roles. A profoundly important issue for the Pacific is how to end the extremely high levels of violence against women and this session examines some of the challenges to be faced.