Raising Awareness on Domestic Violence One Group at a Time
Koror, Palau: On Wednesday, December 7th, a group of women representing cheldebechel from Koror and Airai sat attentively as Senior Judge Honora E. Rudimch gave a presentation about the dynamics of domestic violence. The presentation is part of a brown bag lunch series carried out by the Minister of Community & Cultural Affairs’ Baklai Temengil-Chilton, Sr. Judge E. Rudimch, and other partners from both the government and civil society. The sessions’ goal is to raise awareness on the reality of domestic violence in Palau where 1 in 4 women have experienced physical violence with their partner. However, men and boys too are affected by domestic violence. [restrict]
The participants learned about the prevalence rate of domestic and sexual violence as well as the Family Protection Act (FPA) – the law passed in 2012 that puts a “no-drop policy” on domestic and related family violence. They also learned the dynamics of domestic violence relationships, the signs and red flags to look for, and how to determine the core aggressor in a relationship where both partners become violent. Minister Temengil-Chilton then concluded the session where she explained that violence – hitting girls, especially – is a learned behavior and not something that we are born with. She encouraged all participants, particularly parents, to teach their sons, their children, and to be proactive in building violence-free communities.
The brown bag sessions are part of the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Gendered-based Violence that kicked off on Nov. 25th with a Walk/Run to End all Forms of Violence. Sessions were held with different agencies and audiences including a youth audience at Palau Community College (PCC). In the days in-between, Oceania TV in partnership with the agencies, have been running videos and messages that help raise awareness on ending violence in our community. The agencies also joined Omekesang and Palau Parents Empowered in the Disability March on Friday, Dec. 2nd. The activities will wrap-up this coming Saturday, Dec. 10th where the agencies have partnered with Koror State Youth Council, Palau National Olympic Committee, and United States of American Embassy in Palau in sponsoring and organizing a color run event called the “Koror Kolor Run” which aims to bring more awareness to our Palau campaign to end domestic violence against women and girls and to recognize the International Human Rights Day.
Other partners who helped sponsor, organize, and run the events are Senator J. Uduch Sengebau Senior and Senate staff, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, United Nations Joint Office here in Palau, SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team, US Embassy, Oceania TV (OTV), as well as Tia Belau and Island Times. The official color of this international and national movement is orange, which explains why you might have seen people wearing orange t-shirts all over town.
While the 16 Days of Activism will come to an end this weekend, the Family Protection Act Stakeholders—inter-government agencies responsible for the implementation of the FPA (Bureau of Public Safety, Palau Judiciary, MCCA, MOH, Office of the AG)—Youth Justice (formerly Juvenile Justice Working Group), and NGOs from civil society shall continue to raise awareness on domestic violence.
For more information, contact the Ministry of Community & Cultural Affairs (MCCA) at 488-2626. If you or someone you know need help, please call 911 for immediate response. You can also call the TALK HOTLINE at 775-8255. In addition, the FPA grants victims access to filing Protective Orders directly with the Court (contact Marshals at 775-2607). MCCA also has a Victims’ Advocate that can be contacted at 775-4978. [/restrict]