Dear Editor – Whilst the Government is busy vaccinating against Covid-19, another virus has been silently ravaging our communities.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Solomon Islands has one of the worst rates of domestic violence in the region.
For a country that is proudly Christian and rich in culture, it is truly sad that many of our women and girls had to endure such barbarity.
Recently Fathers’ Day was on a Sunday. On that day a relative of mine was bashed up by her de facto until she was “half-dead”.
Early on Monday morning, I was contacted and informed about the Fathers’ Day incident in another part of Honiara.
I was informed that the abuser thought my relative had spent the day with another man. So upon her return home, the abuser beat the living daylights out of her.
In fact the abuser refused to hear the truth from the woman. After cleaning their house, she spent the afternoon visiting her brother (and wife) nearby. Other neighbors in the neighborhood could testify to this fact.
So on Monday morning, before going to work, I went to a Police station and reported the incident. I explained that my relative was injured from the beating.
I also explained that I have discovered that the abuser was a serial offender. He is unemployed. In the past he used a knife pinned to the woman’s back and dragged her to a nearby ATM for her to withdraw her hard-earned money. All this just to pay for his kwaso.
In another incident, the abuser used an axe to chase the woman from the house she rented. He has been a parasite living off the sweat of the woman. Neighbors witnessed the horror but suggested for the couple to just reconcile and forgive each other.
Since I reported to the Police, nothing has been done. I am perplexed. Are the Police waiting for a dead body before they could act? Are they waiting for the woman’s relatives to “pay-back” and slaughter the abuser which is possible in our Melanesian culture?
Or are the Police waiting for heavy-duty or extra duty allowances to be paid them like the Lockdown allowance? In case you wonder, the Police Station is only walking distance to the site of the violence. The Police don’t need a Hilux or a Landcruiser to travel to the crime scene.
I have heard many times that when a man beats his wife or girlfriend, no one wants to poke their noses into other people’s problems. So they pretend that nothing was wrong and turn a blind eye to the brutality nearby.
I am however persuaded that if we (fellow Solomon Islanders) do something, we can minimize or eradicate domestic violence from our communities.
Unlike other countries, ours is unique because of the Wantok system. Remember, a woman or girl who is abused by her partner is someone’s Wantok, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, cousin, niece or tambu.
There are many Christians in our communities too. If they truly love Jesus as Christians are commanded to, they too would love their neighbors and intervene when one is being bashed up senseless near them.
Churches are prevalent in our communities throughout our country. Yet it seems many who attend church have not been taught the message “thou shalt not beat thine wife, partner or girlfriend”.
The sad irony is that the abuser I have described above attends church from time to time.
Domestic violence may not become a pandemic. But it is a “virus” we can best live without. Enough is enough.