As the world is grappling with an unprecedented large-scale crisis with the rapid spread of COVID-19, Samoa Victim Support Group’s (SVSG) Road Trip across Savaii continues to gather momentum. From Maota, passed Taga, Salailua, Sagone, Fagasa and working our way back to the Faasaleleaga constituency, it has been a productive Road Trip.
Raising awareness on human rights issues such as violence, stigma and discminiation affecting the minority groups of women, girls, LGBT+, person with disability and the elderly in Samoa, the Road Trip is right on time, as SVSG anticipates an increase in domestic violence incidences should Samoa go on lockdown if COVID-19 reaches our small nation.
The proud SVSG village representatives gathered either at the church minister’s residence or the village fale, to be further empowered on how they can be our first point of contact in the village communities to end domestic violence, stigma and discrimination towards the most vulnerable.
There were a lot of questions and concerns on the looming threat should the COVID-19 hit our shores. And according to the SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang, “if the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that our individual wellbeing is deeply intertwined with the wellbeing of everyone else. As such, if we don’t take care of those who are most vulnerable in our society and those who care for others, no one wins.”
The SVSG village represenatives were therefore encouraged to continue being the voice of the voiceless. Because for women survivors of violence and those at risk, any government decision for a lockdown will mean these women, girls, persons with disabilities, the elderly and the LGBTQ+ community will be trapped in their homes with their abusers, isolating them from the people and service providers that could help them.
The SVSG President therefore acknowledged the support from the Equality and Justice Alliance which enabled us to set on this Road Trip. At the same time, President Siliniu Lina Chang is calling on our people, especially to the most vulnerable population that help is available through the Help Line number 800-7874, should they experience domestic violence should the government call for a lockdown as protection against the COVID-19.
“Remember, being physically distant does not mean being alone. SVSG is always within reach by contacting us on the Help Line.” Siliniu Lina Chang