The all female crew of Fautasi o Toa have sent a message of courage and love to coincide with this period of 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Towards Women and Girls.
Samoa’s Warrior Queen, Vaimasanu’u Zita Martel says it is a pleading message to all women out there in domestic or sexually violent relationships “to please have the courage to walk away if you are being abused”.
The message comes on the back of a successfully coached, trained and captained all-female crew who took second place at the Marist St Joseph College 70th Anniversary Fautasi Regatta in Apia on 6th November this year.
Translated as the ‘Longboat of Legends’, the Fautasi o Toa brought together women of different ages and backgrounds who wanted to be a part of an age-old tradition, aspiring to be a fautasi rower.
Their passion was combined with a powerful message to shine a ‘spotlight’ onto the violence that exists against women and children.
“It was about building women champions”, said Vaimasenuu in an interview with Samoa Global News.
Vaimasanuu’s message is clear and direct to encourage women:
“We are one in the eyes of our Creator, we are all precious gifts from God. You are all worthy, and you are not some piece of furniture to be used and abused.”
“If they can keep this light of hope burning within, they can also then find the courage to walk away.”
Vaimasanu’u says the Fautasi o Toa will be furthering their messages of encouragement for women through podcasts soon to be released.
“They are message of love, courage and kindness to the public in Samoa and also beyond our shores”.
“The podcast is called Fautasi o Toa and will profile ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things in life;
“Some of the stories will be of those who have escaped abuse and have turned their lives around, given the traumas they’ve come through,” Vaimasanu’u revealed.
The podcasts aim to provide a light of hope to those who are in situations that feel hopeless and helpless.
“Please have the courage to speak out and walk away from being abused”.
Vaimasanu’u explains the imagery of the Lady Toas with backs to the camera, which denotes the logo of Fautasi o Toa.
“The 2 wings of the Atafa bird that flank the fautasi symbolises freedom from violence. It also symbolises the hope for peace as we build as one (fau tasi) for a more loving nation”.