For too long, Kiribati culture has upheld the dignity of men in favour for hiding the experiences of the women they abuse.
There is no hiding that like so many other Kiribati men, my grandfather was abusive to my grandma. He was physically overbearing over Terira. There is a story that my grandma spent a night clinging to the inside of a well while my grandfather, in a rage, raced around looking for his wife.
In my own cultural journey, these points are just some of the reasons I allow myself the title of upholding what it means to be a proud I-Kiribati woman…
Anywhere else in the world, it is a luxury to live by the sea. In Kiribati, it means that you are the first to be without a home.
For thousands of years Pacific culture has lead to men believing that domestic violence is right and a man’s prerogative. This is absolutely wrong, but it doesn’t take a bill in parliament to change a society’s ways that they have held for thousands of years.
By learning more about ourselves, we learn more about the world. The more we learn about the world, the more our diverse communities grow to learn and respect each other.It is everyone’s responsibility to share what they know about their own community.
I walked back to the house with two cousins running ahead and a baby cousin on my hip. I was wearing a traditional Kiribati top (tiibuta) and a sarong. I was barefoot and despite my lighter skin, I could have been any other I-Kiribati woman. A baby on my hip, yelling at my younger cousins to stop fighting and going back to my house where my family waited.
And then he grinned, took my backpack and swung it over his shoulder while I stood there stunned. He hopped on the motorbike gesturing me to hop on behind him.
‘What, you didn’t recognise me cousin?’
I stared at him for way too long.
‘Kairo! You’re so tall! And handsome!’
It’s almost winter here in Melbourne and while the rain falls and the frost thickens, we while away our time by looking out the window and dreaming of holidays. Holidays with endless sunshine, drinking straight from the coconut and swimming in the ocean at night. The Pacific Islands can give you this luxury and it…
In previous posts I mentioned how wonderful the women in my family are. I have also previously mentioned that there are huge domestic abuse issues on Kiribati. Yeah, this isn’t such a happy topic is it? But nevertheless, a topic that must, must, must be out in the open. Unfortunately almost every I-Kiribati woman I…