Former Manu Samoa Rugby stars Mahonri Schwalger, George Stowers and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu (above) were among dozens of male volunteers that came forward to support a male-led Samoa Victim Support Group Domestic Violence campaign this weekend – the campaign was part of Samoa’s ’16 days of activism program.’
Senior SVSG Volunteer Patty Perez said the men have been at different locations in Apia holding up signs and handing out information brochures throughout the day. The male volunteers were aged 14 to mid-60s and all from different villages in Samoa. The aim of the project named ‘A Warrior’s Promise’ is to raise awareness of the affects of violence on family and the community.
“By having our men in town supporting the cause, we are hoping that the messages and helpline numbers will be remembered for a time when somebody may need it themselves or for others they know,” she says.
SVSG currently run a program where the courts refer men to the SVSG programs despite that there is no government funding for these programs or SVSG. Perez says that the courts are referring the men to the programs in large numbers.
“The programs are run by church pastors and volunteers, all trained and experienced. They are run in the old SVSG office building which is run down and in need of repair. There are no funds for tea, coffee or even toilet paper – all things that would make the groups more comfortable and ‘inviting’ for facilitators and group participants.”
SVSG Helpline: 800 7874