PACMAS in collaboration with the Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC) organised a workshop last week to educate media in reporting issues on violence against women
and to eliminate violence against women in Vanuatu.
In an Interview with the Buzz 96FM PACMAS Program manager, Mr Francis Herman said that the PACMAS has done some in the past with the Vanuatu Women’s Centre on violence against women in the Women’s Centre outreach officers in Vanuatu but not with the media.
“We are working with five countries in the Pacific with women centre groups in eliminating violence against women and working with the media in the Pacific, which has some of the highest rates in the world,” he said.
“Why we are doing this is because media plays a critical role in informing, advocating and educating the communities about the detrimental effects violence against women poses on the communities.”
Mr Herman said that before doing interviews or documentaries on sensitive issues such as violence against women, media must first understand the subject and the workshop was an attempt in collaboration with the VWC to improve media’s understanding of this topic.
“To us, violence against women is not a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue and as we have heard the Vanuatu government has provided all the enabling legislative environment and as media practitioners, we need to use this enabling environment to teach our people are little bit more,” he said.
“But we support organisations such VWC in carrying out outreach in reducing violence against women.”
Mr Herman said that it was important the leading media personnel to make effort to come and learn from leading organisations like the VWC and make the information tangible.
“In your news on a regular basis we can do stories or interviews that raises people’s awareness about the effects that gender violence has on the communities,” he said.
“Every time you slap you wife, your girlfriend or sister, rape them or sexually molest them, it affects the community,it affects economic development and social development and the media plays a critical part to make sure that we change the mindset within our community, and that is what we are about.”
Mr Herman said that PACMAS is about developing the capacity of media so they can do their job better and partner with such organisations like VWC.
The National Coordinator for the VWC, Mrs Merilyn Tahi said that they were longing to have this workshop with the media as they know media plays an important role in disseminating information especially violence against women issues.
“We have been around for 24 years doing awareness around the country and felt that we have done something and it is time for us to change their attitudes so that is the story now,” she said.
“We are really happy to have these three days with the media people and we have establish a relationship where we can provide information to media and they will use whatever platforms they have to educate people and help reduce violence against women in Vanuatu.”