“If anyone hits or mistreats a woman in any way, they had better watch out.” (Except for First Family, of course)
Khaiyum has taken a lead from the start on domestic violence policy. He was the one who insisted on a special decree and he made clear it was aimed at men. “The Decree will allow for greater protection for women and children and shall give women greater access to justice,” he said in September2009. Getting rid of the opportunity for reconcilaiation was one of the aims of the decree. Admitting guilt and reconciling in accordance iTaukei custom had to be stamped out and replaced with punishment. Punishment according to Khaiyum equals justice. Women needed access to justice, not reonciliation. Access to justice? When Hosanna Kabakoro complained she wound up being charged with an offence more serious than the husband she had made the complaint about. Bai thought the Khaiyum agenda could make him seem like a tough guy who cared. Who can forget his proud boast: “If anyone hits or mistreats a woman in any way, they had better watch out. Because we are going to come down very hard. They are going to feel the full force of the law.” We can now see this is just another piece of empty rhetoric. We can be sure that Hosanna Kabakoro will be facing threats and bribes to shut up and forget the whole incident – exactly the opposite the boast made in the Khaiyum decree of justice meaning punishment of perpetrators.