Churches in Fiji observe Break-the-Silence Sunday

break the silence

Last Sunday Churches across Fiji observed Break the Silence Sunday in a united attempt to break the culture of silence and shame around violence against women.

This is in response to research conducted by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre which suggests that 64 percent of Fijian women aged between 15 and 49 have experienced physical or sexual abuse meted out by their husbands or partners.

Break the Silence Sunday, an initiative of the Anglican church, was observed in Fiji’s Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Salvation Army, Orthodox churches and at some independent evangelical fellowships.

The message is also being carried on television.

On Sunday, Fiji’s 6 pm news carried a 60-second video clip in which the leaders of these churches affirmed that male and female are created equal by God – and that violence against women and children “is a sin.”  Click here to watch the video.

The video will be rebroadcast during primetime news every night for the three weeks leading up to Human Rights Day on December 10.

And if viewers didn’t get the message during the news hour, the video clip will then be re-screened four times later in the evening until December 10.

The video will also screen before every film showing in Suva’s 10 Damodar movie theatres, in Lautoka’s four theatres and in Nadi’s two until December 10.

The proposal for Break the Silence Sunday originated from the Christian network Talanoa, an alliance of Fijian women’s groups and churches convened by the House of Sarah – an organisation hosted by the Diocese of Polynesia that delivers a range of services designed to end violence against women and children.

In September last year, Archbishop Winston Halapua urged the various denominational leaders in the Fiji Council of Churches to observe their own “Break the Silence Sunday” – and he also proposed a video campaign.

He got 100 percent support for that too – and the Methodist Church of Fiji’s Communication Department then set about producing the video and booking slots for it to be shown on TV and in the movie theatres.

While Break the Silence Sunday is a Fijian move, the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia also observed it in its Samoan, Tongan and American Samoan churches.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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