By Mike Puia
MOST local women and girls keep stories of rape and violence against them to themselves because such topics are regarded by most tradition as taboo.
But, former Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena, believes it is possible to get these stories out if members of the community are equipped with counselling skills.
Sir Waena made these comments during a session held by a team from the Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra.
The ODE team used the session in Honiara yesterday to present its preliminary results from the evaluation it conducted in the country over the past weeks.
The team has been evaluating Australia’s development assistance towards efforts to end violence against women and girls in the country.
During the session members of the team shared the experience of women and girls they meet.
Leader of the evaluation team, Mary Ellsberg, said there are women and girls in places they visited who wanted to talk about these issues but appeared uncomfortable to share because they are not use to openly talk about them.
When her team raised these issues, Ellsberg said, some women took the courage to talk, providing more information about women and girls’ experiences of rape and violence.
She said it appeared most women and girls have experience some forms issues relating to rape and violence.
Sir Nathaniel said issues around rape and violence are regarded taboo and many will chose not to talk freely.
He said training men and women from the provinces to deal with victims and perpetrators of violence are important so that they can help address this issue in a holistic way.
“We need expert advice so we can open doors that are being shut for too long,” Sir Nathaniel said.
The evaluation noted that there has been more media coverage about issues around rape and violence which has promoted open discussions about these issues.