The Correctional Service of Solomon Islands (CSSI), in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) raised inmates to end violence against women and girls.
A workshop organized was in line with the mission of the Male Advocacy Program and the GEWD Policy commitment.
A two-day advocacy program for male inmates was facilitated by MWYCFA on Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th November at the RCCC Chapel.
CSSI Gender Coordinator SSgt Catherine Nalakia said the program was very much aligned with Policy Outcome 4 Preventing and Responding to violence against women and girls. The event brought together women and girl experts, researchers and activists who shared new findings and best practices, with the ambition to get men and boys involved to put a stop to Gender–Based Violence (GBV) and promote gender equality.
Being high in the Pacific Islands societies, Coordinator Nalakia stated that GBV is a grave human rights violation and is one of the horrific forms of gender inequality.
She added that, according to the Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study (SIFHSS), 64% of women and girls between 15 and 45 years of age, experiences physical and/or sexual violence from their intimate partners and boyfriends. One of the root causes of GBV is the inequality between men and women stemming from cultural structures, norms and practices.
“Many of the prisoners are not aware that they have committed a crime,” said Nalakia. “They believe what they did – rape, domestic violence, marrying a minor – is justifiable through cultural, traditional or religious norms.”
“After these sessions, inmates with rape, domestic violence, and sexual violence offenses, admitted the responsibility for the crimes committed,” she added.
When inmates are released, they are shall engage with groups within their communities to continue with counselling, assistance and to highlight the successes. They shall also explore opportunities to sustain and expand these programmes.
This not only support and empower women but also yield benefits for men as well. “The reintegration aspect is very important” said the CSSI Gender Officer.
Catherine Nalakia thanked MWYCFA and ACOM for the successful facilitation of the program.
A huge acknowledgement was rendered to Oxfam for funding the workshop.