As part of their work, our WCCC counsellors conduct home visits to women and children referred by the community health clinics. These home visits are critical because many of these women have no means of getting to the main centre in Fanga either because of fear, no funds to access public transport, simply just not knowing that there is support out there or because their daily schedules are so full that they can hardly find the time to seek support.
Apart from all the above reasons, one of the biggest challenges still is that seeking support and counselling is still a very foreign concept in Tongan culture. To talk to someone about your problems let alone your rights being violated is not something usually practiced in Tonga. As Tongans we are expected to take it all in, ‘kataki’i’ handle it quickly and move on.
If you seek help, especially from someone outside of your family or church circle then you are inviting embarrassment among yourself. You are seen as a weak individual, a trouble-maker and a nuisance to the family. This is particularly true of domestic violence cases, sexual assault and rape cases.
When we carry out our awareness programs we try to break down the myths and misconceptions around seeking help and support and encourage women and girls and all members of the community to seek help and access the support services that are available.
It is so critical, particularly with the increase in suicide rates, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health issues and so on. All of these issues have links to violence against women and girls.
If you know of anyone who needs free, non-judgmental and confidential counselling, please do not hesitate to contact us or pass on our details, you may be saving a life, a future, a hope.