“It is your right, it’s every person’s right to be free of any form of violence whether they are at home or out in public,” Judge Honora Rudimch proclaimed during the final day of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to End All Forms of Violence, held last Friday at the Civic Center.
“1 out of 4 women in Palau experience domestic abuse. 1 out of 10 women in Palau experience some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime,” added Judge Rudimch, calling for people to take the issue seriously. “We have to speak up.”
Court statistics collected under the Family Protection Act showed 69 cases of people seeking protection through the court program in 2021. Of those 69 cases, 77% were women, 20% were men, and 2% were joint filings.
Most importantly, of all the cases filed, 84% were granted protective orders. This said, Judge Rudimch showed that the court takes these matters very seriously.
Domestic abuse is defined as one person seeking power and control over another through “control, humiliation, and dominance.” And it can be physical or psychological, and it can happen to all kinds of people regardless of background or status. “Abusers disregard the consequence of the violence to the victim.”
“There must be no space in Palau where gender-based violence is a taboo topic. We need everyone to play their part in condemning acts of violence and reporting all acts of abuse or harassment,” expressed Vice President and Minister of Justice Uduch Sengebau-Senior, of the work to unite all sectors of the community to come together to end violence against women and girls.
Violence against women, girls, and others members of society is finding a new outlet in the form of cyberbullying. “Like a kitchen knife, technology can do many wonderful things but also, like a kitchen knife, it can also do a lot of damage,” expressed Kendall Titimel, youth representative at the event. Nearly half of the attendees at the event were students from Palau High School and Ibobang High School.
Cyberbullying is increasing with technology now available to nearly every young person. In the US, cyberbullying has caused young people to commit self-harm, but it is a difficult problem to track unless reported.
The campaign seeks to unite everyone, to end violence against all persons.
“We call on all people of our proud Republic to support people in their right to live without violence! Together we can create a world free from violence, where everyone has sufficient resources and equal opportunities to reach their full potential,” expressed Vice President Uduch Sengebau-Senior in her remarks.