A 2-day workshop on Domestic and Sexual Violence Communication Strategies was held over the weekend for radio broadcasters and reporters of Samoa’s national radio station, Radio 2AP.
The project, led by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) in partnership with the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, aims at developing the capacity and confidence in broadcasters to interview survivors, and facilitate effective communication platforms for delivering key messages of “ending violence” in Samoa.
Parallel to the workshop for broadcasters, is a tailor-made training for Survivors of the Samoa Victim Support Group, who will be airing their voices on Radio 2AP as part of the 16 Days of Activism for 2020.
Principal Programmer-Producer of Radio 2AP Mauisiisii Leutu Mose said the program has given her team a deeper understanding of Domestic and Sexual Violence, which is a necessary precedence of being able to host public discussions and talk back shows on this delicate issue.
“It is a topic that we are always careful about because of the risks or harm that a story might bring to the survivor;
“But this program allows us to work closely with survivors and firstly understand all aspects of those impacts, before we venture into broadcasting the issue,” said Mauisiisii.
“We feel that we now have the confidence to speak about Domestic and Sexual Violence; the difference between Contributing Factors, Triggers and Causes, the Cycle of Violence and the Power and Control that is at the centre of abusive behaviour”.
The Radio 2AP broadcasting team juggled their shift work to participate in the training workshop conducted by Tuiloma Lemalu Sina Retzlaff of Pacific Global Solutions.
Tuiloma said the vast experience of 2AP broadcasters being experts in their own field of communications, and their close engagement with the community, made it easier to achieve the learning outcomes of the workshop.
“It was a blessing to work with highly experienced broadcasters, some with over 30 years experience in their field. As soon as they grasped the key elements of Domestic and Sexual Violence, especially myths and accepted norms that drive abusive behaviour; vox pops, slogans, quirky short sayings and messages just flowed from this team!”
The voices of SVSG Survivors will be recorded and aired on Radio 2AP in the coming week, as part of the MCIT’s engagement in community messages during the globally celebrated 16 Days of Activism to end all forms of abuse toward women and children.
Speaking at the project launch last month, the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Afamasaga Toeolesulusulu Rico Tupai had highlighted the importance of building the capacity of local broadcasters and all of the Samoa media, to understand the sensitivities of the issues and deliver appropriate messages.
“Radio 2AP will promote anti-violent messages and air the voices of our brave warriors and survivors, and raise awareness of the issues on a nation-wide level”, the Minister said.
The National Inquiry Report into Family Violence (NIRFV) conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman National Human Rights Institute (NHRI) found that 20% of women reported being raped while 10% reported having been raped by a family member in their lifetime.
The NIFV confirmed increasing trends in the prevalence of family violence in Samoa with 86% of women surveyed, declaring that they had been punched, kicked, slapped or assaulted with an object by a spouse or other family member, while 87% reported to have been subjected to emotional and verbal abuse as well as threats of violence.
The MCIT Minister says the issue is well established and many recommendations have been put forward in the NIFV report.
“There have been enough studies, research and data to establish that there is violence against women and children in Samoa, and now, it is time for action”, said Afamasaga.
The MCIT Radio 2AP Project is funded by the Spotlight Initiative through UNESCO, working in close partnership with the only shelter available for survivors, the Samoa Victim Support Group.