Updated: Jun 7, 2021
In previous blogs, I wrote about the pervasive and negative consequences of domestic violence in our societies.
Today I wanted to delve a little deeper into the topic, so let me set the tone for this blog a little.
In many of my other blogs, there is a social quotient I constantly re-emphasise: the two-thirds statistic. The fact that two-thirds of Solomon Island women and girls have already experienced domestic violence from an intimate partner.
I’d like to contextualise things here, following on from my series on The Real SOE in Melanesia, and ask a few questions to provoke some thought on the subject.
Firstly, of course - these opinions are my own; and I am neither a lawyer nor a psychologist.
I am simply a daughter of Melanesia, who feels that these subjects must be touched.
#1. Who is the real perpetrator of GBV, here?
The issues occurring in our sister country, PNG, aside - here in Solomon Islands, particularly in this post-RAMSI era, we look to the police to solve many of our social issues.
The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, or RSIPF, are bound by the law to serve and protect citizens and public property, as well as uphold the law.
However, when we speak of sensitive social issues like gender-based violence (GBV), the police and social workers can only intervene, as is their constitutional duty, to a certain extent and within the set guidelines of our laws and constructs. They are public servants working within set parameters - an example being the enforcement of the 2014 Family Protection Act.
In many instances, their involvement goes as far as responding to complaints and an initial arrest of the perpetrator of GBV.
Actually carrying out the arrest, to booking the perpetrator however, is a whole other issue.
In my experience, enactment and enforcement operate on two different levels, here in Solomon Islands.
What does perpetrate actually mean?
It means to allow for something to continue by either siding with it, or never actively advocating against it.
With this definition in mind, aside from the initial culprit, is the perpetrator of GBV also then:
The spouse that dropped the charges?
The arresting officer, who then became the mediator, trying to solve the domestic issues?
The family - trying to help their children fix their marriage issues?
So many blurred lines!