Violence Against Women in the Solomon Islands
Stream: Cultural Knowledge Frameworks in Responding to Violence against Women
Date: Thursday, 12 February 2015
Time: 1.45 pm – 3.30 pm
The paper discusses contemporary responses to gender-based violence in the Solomon Islands (SI). It draws on the presenter's experience of community development with a leading SI organisation, Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT), based in the capital Honiara. It also draws on the experience of policy work with a provincial government based in Gizo, Western Province. The paper argues that in a nation where 2 in 3 women suffer from domestic and/or sexual violence and 85% of the population live in rural areas scattered along an archipelago of 996 islands, service provision outside of Honiara is either a challenge or just not possible. The paper argues the importance of primary prevention approaches which involve leaders from villages, both men and women. Examples are used from the SIDT project to prevent violence against women, including use of community theatre as an education tool in villages. The presentation links and explores connections between women’s peace-building activities and responding to violence against women, during the SI ethnic tensions (1997 – 2003) and post-conflict. The paper will use the national elections held in November 2014 as a political backdrop and lens to consider the broader issue of women’s equality and empowerment in the Solomon Islands.
Robyn Edwards (Presenter), Solomon Islands Western Provincial Government
Reflecting on a long working life, Robyn Edwards has tried to stay true to principles of social justice, community development and gender equality. Robyn has worked as an advocate and researcher in the area of violence against women. She conducted the ground-breaking NSW Staying Home Leaving Violence research studies. Recently she has lived and worked in the Solomon Islands, and led the Prevent Violence Against Women project for Solomon Islands Development Trust, a leading NGO based in the capital, Honiara. Robyn is a social worker who studied at UNSW at a time when the curriculum did not include domestic violence.