All women and girls are warned to be careful when boarding public vehicles in Port Vila, especially at nights.

The police have issued this warning following a rape incident that happened recently involving a female teenage passenger.

She was reportedly raped on the road at Stella View while traveling to Teouma at night, according to police.

All women and girls are advised to either note down or remember the plate number of any public transport, a taxi or bus they are traveling on.

The statement added: “You (women/girls) must know the color and type of labeling on the vehicle.

“Check if there are other passengers on the bus before you climb in and whether you know and trust the driver.

“Always call the police on its free line 111 for help if you suspect that something bad is going to happen to you on your way.

“Everyone are also advised to text or call family members for help apart from police.”

Commenting on the issue, the Vanuatu Women Centre (VWC) said:

“While the community and others may warn women to take extra precautions when moving around at night and/or ensure to keep themselves safe; this seems to tell women and girls that it is their duty to keep themselves safe.

“This usually results in victim blaming ; and not putting the blame on the perpetrator.

“Perpetrators should be held responsible for their cowardly and selfish actions.

“It is the perpetrators attitude and mindset that should be addressed.

“There should be more emphasis on the fact that women and girls as equal human beings have the right to move around safely, and it is the duty of everyone else to respect women and girls.”