One year ago, Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) was invited by the Au Uso Fealofani Methodist Women’s Group at Foga’a Faleula, to present on the work of SVSG on gender based violence.
It was an occasion that saw the Au Uso Fealofani donning their black attire in place of the white mu’umu’uusually worn by church ministers wives. The transformation was simply an act of solidarity by the Au Uso Fealofani during the official launch of the Thursdays in Black global campaign in Samoa, ‘Towards a World without Rape and Violence’ as per the motto of the Campaign.
Today marked the one year anniversary since that transformation, and the Au Uso Fealofani Methodist Women’s Group are congratulated for taking a bold stance in joining the global Thursdays in Black solidarity and advocacy campaign against all forms of sexual and gender based violence. Every Thursdays, the Au Uso Fealofani joined international church partners in wearing black to honor women everywhere facing violence and injustice. It was therefore an honor for SVSG to be invited to join such a worthy anniversary acelebration.
With the increase in sexual and gender based violence cases during the unprecendented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Au Uso Fealofani’s pledge to be part of the Thursdays in Black Campaign was not only timely, but fitting. This is given the stronger influence that the Church has on the daily lives of the Samoans.
As a human rights activist and an advocate for ending sexual and gender based violence, having women leaders in churches, taking a bold stance in the fight to end gender based violence, is a breath of fresh air.
“A heartfelt congratulations to the President of the Au Uso Fealofani Methodist Women’s Group, Mrs. Fialelei Faulalo Leti and members of the Group, for standing in solidarity with all women who are suffering from sexual and gender based violence within families and communities. Thank you also for the generous donation of $10,000.00 that you presented today to support SVSG, as part of the Thursday in Black anniversary celebration. Together, we can work ‘Towards a World without Rape and Violence’ ” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President