Fiji Women's Rights Movement shared Lani Wendt Young's post.
This is about Fatima Tupa'i. She was 25 yrs old and she had two children - a 2 yr old and a baby that's only a month old. Her husband bashed her to death with a rock while she lay sleeping with her babies beside her. They were at her family's home because she had left him due to his violent abuse. Her cousin told the Samoa Observer "Fatima was a very good mother to her children...when things were bad, she promised that she will never return to her husband but said she will look after children and our grandmother." #SayHerName
Too often when a woman is abused, we ask "why doesnt she leave him?" We say, "If she were a strong Samoan woman blah blah then she wouldnt let him treat her that way. She wouldnt put up with it."
Fatima Tupa'i tried to leave him. She tried asking the police for help. She was a strong woman who took her children away from her violent partner.
And she was savagely murdered for it.
We must STOP placing the responsibility for domestic violence on the shoulders of our women and instead, we must hold men accountable. We must ask, "WHY does he keep beating her? WHY does he think its ok to try and control the woman he 'loves' with fear, intimidation and brutality?" We must ask ourselves, as parents teachers caregivers and policymakers - WHAT ARE WE TEACHING OUR SONS?? How is it that we are raising so many men that are treating women with callous disrespect and even with murderous intent?
Instead of being dismissive of abused women and their suffering, we must ask our aiga, our Village Fono and our wider communities - WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TO STOP MEN FROM HURTING WOMEN? From killing them?
Please, stop making excuses for violence against women. Stop saying -
"Its because he was drunk..."
"Its because she answered back and was disrespectful..."
"Its because she burnt his dinner..."
"Its because she's a pa'umuku..."
"It's because she's weak and cant stand up to her husband..."
Our hearts ache for Fatima Tupa'i and so many others who have died at the hands of the men who were supposed to love them best. Our hearts ache for the children they left behind.
How many more women must die before we collectively, as aiga, as communities and as a nation - say NO MORE?