Women’s Movement Calls For Change In Approach On ACS Baby Death

The young woman at the center of the Adi Cakobau School saga should be given support from family, the education system, and society said Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali.

A Year 13 girl remains admitted in hospital after allegedly giving birth in school last week. Police investigations into the death of the child are still underway.

Ms. Ali says the actions of the young woman are reflective of society’s attitude towards issues like sex and young women’s sexuality.

She has also called for an investigation and questioning of the father of the dead infant.

“One of the reasons why young women in Fiji tend to do this is because there is no support and there is a lot of stigmatization,” she said.

“This also shows the huge contradictions in attitude. On one side as adults, people are shamelessly indulging into acts such as adultery and frown on topics such as sex and sexuality of young women.”

Ms. Ali said a change needed in the way this issue was being handled. She has called for more openness on such issues especially between parents and children.

Ms. Ali said the FWCC would listen and help out where needed should young women found themselves in such a situation.

The Ministry of Education urged heads of schools and teachers to create awareness on teenage pregnancies, drug and sexual abuse in schools to ensure children are not only aware of the consequences but also aware of the support services available to them.

The Ministry encouraged students to use the Child Helpline initiated by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation in 1325.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said the post mortem on the infant was yet to be conducted and their investigations continue.

A number of former students have also called for society to change its mindset and called on parents to show openness and understanding of situations where young women find themselves pregnant.