SUVA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's Minister for Women and Children Mereseini Vuniwaqa on Tuesday urged families to discuss the issue of rape openly to curb the rising problem of decaying moral values in the island nation.
Vuniwaqa said in Parliament that it is not fair to blame the Fijian government for the increase in rape because it had implemented programs to try and prevent the issue.
"The rape of women, the sexual violence on our children is not because of leadership, it's because of us, it's because of the breakdown of the family unit, it's because of the decay in moral values and that's where we are to look."
Vuniwaqa said the increase in sexual violence in Fiji is a fact and the onus is on families to get out of the culture of not discussing this issue at home.
In the Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM) "Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Rape Case Analysis for 2018", it was recorded that a total of 94 rape cases were decided in the High Courts of Fiji last year.
FWRM's executive director Nalini Singh said it was a testament to the fact that there is an "Urgency" needed to try and make a more concerted effort between all stakeholders to overcome rape in Fijian communities.
FWRM has undertaken an annual rape cases analysis since 2016 as part of their ongoing research and advocacy on strengthening Fijian women's access to justice.
In all 94 cases of rape decided by the High courts in 2018, all the Accused were male, and the youngest accused was 11 years old and the oldest was 85 years old.
All victims and survivors of the 94 cases were females with the youngest being a 6 month old baby and the oldest victim/survivor, a 71 year old woman.
FWRM also studied the trends in sentences meted out during convictions and found that the highest sentence delivered last year was a life sentence.
From 2016 to 2018, the average age of rape cases were all under 17.