I would never in a million years have thought of what Barry said in this statement, but it’s amazing what a child thinks about and how he came to this conclusion. He said: “Violence can be both good and bad, it’s good because you let your anger out and you don’t hold it in, but bad because it leads to other bad things.” According to this young thinker, sometimes when people don’t hit each other they remain angry for a long time and means they are very unhappy, but if ‘hitting’ occurs then the anger is over. But asked why it is bad he said: “If you hit someone it hurts them, and that’s not a good thing, the pain is not a good thing and worse things can happen because of getting beat up or as I like to say, when someone opens a can, or a tank of whoop lash.”
Penina is a youth officer at Pasifika Mana Social Services, according to her a young persons self worth and knowledge of self can empower them to walk away from bad situations which include violence and a bad relationship. “As long as you know yourself, and value yourself then you can protect yourself from harm by not being part of the situation.” She said during a youth panel discussion which was aired live on television for Open the Door Project in September. According to Penina, young people need to feel empowered to make the right decisions and make the right choices in their relationships. “It is not only about respect of others for you, but the respect of you for yourself.”
“I am not a coward. I have sisters, I will never lay a hand on them. My woman is no different, she is owed the very same respect.” Kilisi Solomona says his grandmother instilled in him a respect for all women, and told him that if he were to harm any woman in his life, he would be a ‘palamimi,’ a man who is a coward. “I mean sometimes it’s tempting especially when I have a fight with the woman I am with, but it is not worth it, I am stronger, I don’t need to prove it by beating the person I love, and it gets me nowhere, ok maybe to Tafaigata, but really. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to eat elegi in prison or sasa vao all day, that could also be a discouraging factor.”
Sefulu Ono Aso or Sixteen Days is a short term online campaign of activism against all forms of violence. Sefulu Ono Aso features views of different members of Samoan society on issues related to violence in the community.
This online platform attempts to create better awareness and understanding of issues, and peoples responses and solutions to ending violence, by publicizing a thought a day by different members of our community.
Sefulu Ono Aso is a project by Storms Mom in the hope that Storm will grow up in a safe environment free from violence in any form, verbal or otherwise.
This short campaign will be guided by Storms great grandmothers favourite verse:
“O le alofa e lavatia mea uma.”
Disclaimer: Statements were made directly to the author of this campaign. Some statements were made by the individuals during the Open the Door programme in Samoa, they have been printed here with the permission of the speakers themselves.