Introduction 

Elsie: Halo olgeta, I’m Elsie, welcome to the RoundTable Podcast. We’ve created this space for Ni-Vanuatu women to speak freely on issues affecting us today. Let’s navigate life in the islands together. Join me as I speak to a new guest every episode and ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Ale yumi storian. This project is made possible with the support of the WeRise Coalition and PECMAS. 

TRANSLATIONS: Hello everyone, I’m Elsie, welcome to the RoundTable Podcast. We’ve created this space for Ni-Vanuatu women to speak freely on issues affecting us today. Let’s navigate life in the islands together. Join me as I speak to a new guest every episode and ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Let’s discuss. This project is made possible with the support of the WeRise Coalition and PECMAS. 

 

Interview 

E: On this episode we’re going to be talking about an interesting yet controversial topic which is women fighting over men. Now our discussion today is based on Vanuatu’s context. Our opinions, stories that we share on this episode are based on things that we’ve seen or things that we’ve heard from friends or family here in Vanuatu. So it may be different for others tuning in from around the Pacific or wherever you are, but if you can relate then great but if not then that’s all good, we just want to share our opinions on this topic. And joining me today I have the wonderful Relvie Poilapa. Hi Relvie. 

 

Relvie Poilapa: Hi Elsie. 

 

E: Thank you so much for joining me on The RoundTable. Before we dive into this conversation can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

 

RP: Sure. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to come and share some of my thoughts on this, as you said it can often be quite a controversial topic, but yeah I’ll introduce myself and just get a little bit of a background as to the work that I do. So I currently work with World Vision Vanuatu, I’ve been working there in various different roles over the last five years. Specifically, in the past I worked in the space of disability inclusion, water sanitation and hygiene programs and throughout the different area programs that World Vision has. But more recently I’ve been working in the space of child wellbeing and I’ve been quite involved in a couple of research pieces that World Vision have been rolling out in collaboration with different various partners and stakeholders both within other NGOs as well as within government sectors, so I’m very much involved. In the past, prior to my work with World Vision I did do a lot of work in other spaces in relation to women’s empowerment programs, gender equality and more recently disability inclusion but now it’s sort of shifted a little bit to child wellbeing, so a wide variety of different experiences in spaces for sure. 

 

E: I used to work at World Vision as well. 

 

RP: That’s right. 

 

E: Not directly with Relvie but we were a World Vision family and so it’s so nice to have you back here now in the Sista space to be talking about a very interesting topic and a topic I feel like you’re very aware about. 

 

RP: Yes, I think it’s something that’s come up quite a lot especially in our society and I have quite strong opinions about when things like this do come up. And it’s interesting to sort of see how society has formed different opinions whether they’re coming from a cultural perspective, whether it’s from a more modern perspective or way of thinking. There’s a lot of different perspectives, right, amongst both men, women, leaders as well. So it’s not an easy topic, there are people who are quite opinionated and that’s fine. And I guess at the end of the day it’s more about how can we look to finding solutions and ways forward because in all of our various programming we’re looking at how to ensure that we try minimize things about violence and what are some of the things that we need to have in place that can help bring more awareness about what’s appropriate and what isn’t and also what’s healthy. What’s healthy for our community, what’s healthy for our up and coming children and what constitutes a healthy way of living for our youth and the children going forward and when they become adults, what are the things that we want them to be able to show and demonstrate. 

 

E: Absolutely. Like you said everyone has their own opinion on this topic and so it’s not a new topic. Every now and again you’ll hear some sort of story pop up about women arguing over a man and in some cases, and I feel like today this is becoming very common where we’ll see videos on Facebook of women verbally or physically abusing another woman over her man. There was a video that surfaced in April which was of students who were fighting over a boy and just the comments and the statuses that people were posting up right after they watched the video. It was alarming, I was very annoyed with a lot of the comments and a lot of the posts that people were making. Did you see that video? 

 

RP: What were some of the comments, can you just relay some of the comments? 

 

E: Yeah so some of the comments, and these are like screenshots that I’ve taken from Facebook. So a lot of the comments were mocking the whole situation. So there was a status that somebody posted and basically they were saying “yufala faet from boe ia olsem se oli gat plet mo spoon finis”, and there was this one comment on the actual video that said “naia hat blong hem i fatfat gud we” basically saying he’s going to be somewhat impressed or feeling so proud of himself that he’s done that when in fact, and if you followed the video and all of these comments and statuses that came after, he apparently had suicidal thoughts and he came onto social media to say that and people were still making fun of it. But in saying that, there were some people telling other people off for sharing the video saying that this is cyberbullying, these are students. There was this one post that was a long post but what I grabbed from it was “no sakem fuel long faea we i laet finis”. And there was another comment that said this video is going to affect the family members, the people in the video, their friends, and the community. And another comment said Vanuatu schools need to start introducing family life education as a subject. Now I don’t know what family life education is exactly but I believe it’s some sort of subject or course that shares basic life skills, how to be or how to act as an adult and have all of these positive characteristics that will help guide you in life. 

TRANSLATIONS: Yeah so some of the comments, and these are like screenshots that I’ve taken from Facebook. So a lot of the comments were mocking the whole situation. So there was a status that somebody posted and basically they were saying “you guys are fighting over this boy as if he already has his own plates and spoons”, and there was this one comment on the actual video that said “now his heart is full”, basically saying he’s going to be somewhat impressed or feeling so proud of himself that he’s done that when in fact, and if you followed the video and all of these comments and statuses that came after, he apparently had suicidal thoughts and he came onto social media to say that and people were still making fun of it. But in saying that, there were some people telling other people off for sharing the video saying that this is cyberbullying, these are students. There was this one post that was a long post but what I grabbed from it was “don’t throw fuel into a fire that is already lit”. And there was another comment that said this video is going to affect the family members, the people in the video, their friends, and the community. And another comment said Vanuatu schools need to start introducing family life education as a subject. Now I don’t know what family life education is exactly but I believe it’s some sort of subject or course that shares basic life skills, how to be or how to act as an adult and have all of these positive characteristics that will help guide you in life. 

 

RP: As well as be accountable. 

 

E: Exactly. 

 

RP: And responsible and helps you to be, I guess for want of a better word, an upstanding citizen, somebody who’s received those skills to be able to contribute well in a community, in a society but in a way that’s mature, responsible and accountable, right? I think there are some subjects that touch a little bit on that but I don’t know to what extent. 

 

E: Yeah. 

 

RP: Yeah, and I think you’re right, there were probably a lot of different opinions that were coming through and a lot of different topics that can be drawn out of what actually transpired, what was the situation at hand. A lot of people only saw a young lady physically assaulting another lady but we didn’t know all of the history and it was just a lot of assumptions, a lot of people drawing conclusions around what they thought was the case but not really knowing and understanding all of the contributing factors which is not me saying that I approve of violence or that it was a right thing but more just sometimes they’re given a snippet of something and then they just run with it and they think “ok it’s because of this, this and that” when it could be completely the opposite or completely something different. So I think with social media, especially here in Vanuatu, there’s still a lot to be learnt when it comes to social media etiquette and it is a platform where people can share opinions and perspectives and ideas, that’s the good thing about it. But it can also bring about, if people have not been taught to have just normal diplomacy and respect but just because you’re behind a screen and you can write it out doesn’t mean that you should show less respect in the way that you state your opinions or what you think and feel about something. People tend to just automatically get really angry, their emotions get in the way and then rather than thinking about being constructive in a solution that could help maybe the people involved in the circumstance that was shown, but rather they just start becoming very judgmental, bullying comes into place. So I think there’s a lot of different issues that come up when opinions are voiced on social media depending on, especially depending on if a particular forum and the way that they paint, social media is a very powerful medium and I think that when you paint something in a way that influences people’s opinions, that’s a big responsibility. So social media is very important and those who administer it as of such forums need to be quite careful in how they paint a certain topic that they already know is going to controversial but put it in a way that can generate more positive constructive solutions rather than constantly pointing out or judging people for the actions that might have been wrong at the time, right. 

 

E: And so from that I do believe that you also saw the video that I am referring to. 

 

RP: I did, yes, I did. 

 

E: So I just wanted to get your thoughts on maybe not the video itself but the topic in general. 

 

RP: Yeah, so I think for me I’ll just give a little bit of a background. So I have teenage children and I have a teenage daughter. She’s 17 years old and she’s learning what it is to be a young woman today. And when I have an opportunity every now and then I’ll ask her about her social groupings and what are some of the things that are common amongst her friends. And I think prior to this actual video that you’re referring to, there was another one that had come out but I didn’t, I don’t think it came out as publicly as the one that you’re referring to. And I asked my daughter a very simple question, I was like “why are girls fighting with girls? Why is this happening?”. And I didn’t know the full story but she just sort of simply stated “they were fighting, they went and they had drinks and then they were fighting over a boy”, I was like “why?”, I just asked her directly “why did this young lady feel that she needed to fight with this other young lady over the boy?” and she’s like “I don’t know, there’s lots of different reasons, maybe because there was jealousy involved, but it’s such a common thing mum like a lot of times when girls are getting upset with another girl it’s because a boy is involved” and I was like “oh okay”. So I kind of asked her “well do you think that if something like this was happening in your close group of friends, your circle of friends, how do you feel about girls fighting with girls?”, and she’s like “I think it’s silly”, and I was like you know what, I understand that we all have emotions and it’s quite natural when there’s relationships, any relationship, man, woman, woman, woman, man, man, whatever it may be. It’s natural for there to be feelings of jealousy or feeling possessive or territorial, those are not uncommon feelings because we’re wired to want to have that attention from our significant other and that we want to feel that we are that person’s one and only. And sometimes when there are issues that come into play where maybe one partner is no longer interested in just entertaining one person but maybe looking elsewhere as well, feelings of anger can come in, feelings of hurt can come in and that’s a normal human reaction. But I think that unfortunately we’re not always often taught how to manage those types of conflicts when it comes to relationships, it’s often times we allow our anger and our hurt to get the better of us and it’s not easy and I get that it’s not easy because maybe sometimes it’s too overpowering. But I think any message that I would give to anybody who is facing this sort of similar issue where you’ve got somebody, a third person coming in you’re trying to manage those emotions, you need to be able to find a way to openly communicate about that directly to the person that’s hurt you or angered you. And a lot of times, sometimes women, especially women who feel that they have a lot to lose, they might feel disempowered because they’re not given that space by their partner to be able to speak up and say “this is hurting me, this is something that I’m not comfortable with” or “I’m angry at you”. And if they’ve not been given the space by their partner to be able to do that in a healthy way then they look at another way of trying to unleash that anger and that hurt. And unfortunately it ends up them then going on to being violent against another woman and I personally don’t feel that that’s the right way to handle that particular type of situation. If you’re in a situation where those types of conflicts and those types of hurt and anger issues come into play, communication is not everybody’s forte, right? But it is such a key, important form of handling a situation or defusing a situation from becoming worse and it’s not something that comes easily to people, sometimes that’s years of practice. 

 

E: I was going to say. 

 

RP: Yeah. 

 

E: It’s definitely a skill to have that communication skill but then also building up that confidence like you said, if there’s a power dynamic within the relationship then it becomes difficult. 

 

RP: Absolutely, and I think a lot of times that can be the scenario in this setting here. You find that women might feel a little bit more disempowered to be able to be given a space to speak up and voice their hurt and their anger and their emotions and so they’re being pushed down and they’re not given that space to come up and be able to express it. Or because, you know, we live in a patriarchal society so it’s at the end of the day “no I’m the man, I say this is the way it’s going to be and that’s the way it’s going to be so you just shut up and don’t speak”. And that can be hard and so sometimes that can also be a factor as to why women tend to go and then attack the woman instead because in her mind she’s being encouraged by society that well it’s her fault, well it takes two to tango, you know. 

 

E: It takes two to tango. 

 

RP: Yeah. It’s not just the lady, she has to be able to have a way to have that discussion with her husband or partner or whoever and make sure that there’s a way that, you know, deal with it together the both of you first before then starting to look into other ways of trying to solve the situation. Because it doesn’t necessarily make it any better when you’re going out and violently attacking somebody, it actually just makes it worse. And then other things come into play like suicidal tendencies and whatnot, right? So, yeah. 

 

E: Thanks. I think that’s a great insight to it as well that these emotions are normal, it’s normal to feel angry or hurt if you found out that your partner has cheated on you. But it’s how you react and how you handle it that you need to really work on but like you said it takes time to build up that confidence to build up the way you approach the issue in your relationship. 

 

RP: Yeah. Or even to articulate your thoughts about how this is making you feel, that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. And women generally tend to be a little bit more communicative and more able to say “hey we need to talk about this, I want to talk about this, let’s do this”, and men tend to be the ones that sort of take a step back, and that’s the way we’re built, right? Men tend to sort of step back and not want to be so confrontational right at the offset and they need time to process and think about it, whereas women can be, it’s easier for women they just kind of come out and be like “this is what I need, this is what I want”. And that’s something that tends to be a challenge in any relationship, whether it’s a relationship that’s only started over the last month or whether it’s a relationship that’s been together for 20 years plus or more. Communication is a big factor in how you talk through conflict, talk through anger, talk through hurt. That takes time if you’re not naturally inclined to be able to express it then when you’re with somebody it’s something that you take time to harness together as a couple and figure out what’s the best way to handle whatever conflict we may be having, right? 

 

E: I think also having that, you know, it’s normal to react that way to finding out that your partner has cheated, there are a number of different reasons as to why some women will take that drastic step to approach the woman instead of holding her, yeah. And so I’ve heard a few stories where the woman has chosen to confront the other woman because he was the breadwinner and he was the one making money for the family and so she felt like she couldn’t lose him. And instead of taking the sensible way of approaching him and holding him accountable, she went straight to the other woman. 

 

RP: Rather than sort of sticking to the root cause of the problem. 

 

E: Exactly. What do you think would happen if the roles were switched? You know, if the woman was the breadwinner in the relationship and she cheated, again taking into account that we do live in a patriarchal society, I can already see what my answer is but I want to hear your thoughts. 

 

RP: I think men’s reactions can be a little bit more different to a woman’s. Men have their pride and so when a situation is where it’s the man that’s facing the issue, it can lead into issues of their pride being bruised or their ego. You don’t often hear of men then going and attacking another man, it’s not as common, but it’s not to say that those same anger issues or feelings of hurt are not there, it’s just that men tend to process it a little bit more differently and are not necessarily going straight to the third party. But sometimes they take out their anger on the woman directly and that can be something that leads to violence and that’s what we often hear of, right? That’s a common thing that we hear of more than them going and then attacking the other party involved. But I think that men generally tend to sort of take a step back and put more blame on the woman again, generally speaking. So that can be an interesting situation. Now if the woman is quite financially independent, she can make a decision about well you know, she can decide if she holds herself accountable like “okay this is what I did and this was wrong but this is how I want to work through”, and if they can sort of salvage a discussion about what were some of the reasons as to why that may have happened and he’s open to having that discussion, then that’s great. And if they decide between the two of them, you know, they can work through it but maybe he’s quite dependent on her, it’s up to him now. But if he fails like “no my ego and pride has been bruised enough and I don’t really want to deal with that then, yeah”. Most of the time you won’t hear that he will be the one that goes and starts creating violence against a man but he will be maybe taking it out more on her directly. Usually that’s the case right? 

 

E: Yeah, usually that’s the case, and I feel like it’s, you know if the roles were switched and the man finds out that his partner has cheated on him, they tend to try and hide it more. 

 

RP: Who does? 

 

E: The man. 

 

RP: They’ll keep it to themselves. 

 

E: They’ll keep it to themselves whereas I feel, you know, from stories that I’ve heard from my circle of friends, if they found out that their partner has cheated they come to their friends and they say “well I found”, and they look for support. Whereas I’ve never, you know, my guy friends have never come up to me to share all this has happened, they keep it to themselves and then I just find out later. And it’s like, you know, but then it’s not like I go back to say “why didn’t you tell me?”, it’s more like “I could’ve been there to support you, to talk with you” kind of thing. So I just feel like, you know, it is very different, but the usual cases… 

 

RP: Then again that plays to the natural nature of a woman and the natural nature of a man. And you will generally find that men will try and resolve it within themselves on their own, but there are some who lash out. But again that lashing out can come out in different ways, right? So it can be whether they lash out directly to their partner or they lash out in other ways. Maybe if there are children involved, they might lash out indirectly towards their children or they tend to hold it and hold it and hold it for a long time. And that can be challenging I think, and there’s a whole other lot of issues that can come out from that, when things like that happen. So, and it’s not to say that it doesn’t happen, it definitely does. But like if there’s maybe a support system in place where men feel that they can also sort of share some of their experiences and be given that space to work through how to handle the emotions that they’re going through and how to keep moving forward in a constructive way that’s beneficial to not only for them but for the whole family or their situation as a person, you know, like mental wellbeing, right? Yeah. 

 

E: And what gets me all the time is that women will choose to belittle or degrade or, you know, verbally, and in some cases will physically abuse the third party. And there are so many other ways, like we’ve mentioned communication to handle these kinds of situations or issues within the relationship, you know, they could just talk with their partner or if they did want to approach the third party, just to talk with them, find out what’s been going on and then choose to leave or choose to solve the issue. But again in saying that, it’s easier said than done and I think it’s…. 

 

RP: I think another thing that kind of comes into play is if, you know, violence is actually, it’s a taught thing. If you’ve been brought up since you were young to choose violence as an outlet to express anger, to express hurt, to express that you disagree with something, and like I said those are normal emotions that everybody will feel at some stage or another throughout their lives and several times throughout your life. But if you’ve been brought up in an environment where violence is common place and that violence is used as the answer to solving problems, violence is used as a means to get a point across, violence is used as means to correct and teach a lesson, if that’s the kind of environment that you’ve been brought up in and it’s socially acceptable, if it’s something that socially acceptable within your family, within your community, within your home, then that’s where it’s also a contributing factor. For women, it’s all too common you hear, and women tend to be great sources of strength and power when it comes to support. Supporting your fellow sista, supporting a fellow friend, but there’s good support and there’s bad support, and there’s good appropriate ways of dealing with conflict and there’s inappropriate ways of dealing with conflict or ways that can lead you down a pathway that’s not going to help solve your, resolve your situation or make it any better, in fact it makes it worse. I mean if you resort to violence you can end up in jail, you’re breaking the law by physically assaulting somebody or hurting them or intentionally causing harm, these are issues of law coming into play now because the law protects us, it’s there to ensure that justice is fair. And there are appropriate means and ways that this can be dealt with. But if you’ve been taught that “no usum han fes taem”, use your hands first and then deal with the right, proper way later. Well that can also cause issues, right? So sometimes when there’s grouping of women and they come together and they get all riled up and they’re like “kilim hem, kilim hem, kilim hem”, you know, that doesn’t help the situation at all and it actually just makes it worse and creates even more animosity. And it can be harder to then come to a good solution moving forward that everybody feels like “okay your voices, there was space given for your voice to be heard and your perspective to be shared”, but in a good way, in a constructive way, right? And I feel like those are some important things that we sometimes tend to forget. I think you are also sort of asking what are some things that we can do in relation to helping sort of stem this trend of constantly putting the blame on the woman, constantly resorting to violence. There needs to be more awareness and we need to be able to call out what needs to be called out, but in the appropriate way. Men calling out men that “hey, that’s not the right way to deal with this, there are proper ways and channels that you can deal with this”, women calling out women, leaders calling out men and women if they’re doing things that is not appropriate but finding solutions or ways for that helps your home, helps your community, helps everybody rather than putting continuous judgment and blame but like finding a solution that enables everybody to sort of move forward in a good way. 

TRANSLATIONS: I think another thing that kind of comes into play is if, you know, violence is actually, it’s a taught thing. If you’ve been brought up since you were young to choose violence as an outlet to express anger, to express hurt, to express that you disagree with something, and like I said those are normal emotions that everybody will feel at some stage or another throughout their lives and several times throughout your life. But if you’ve been brought up in an environment where violence is common place and that violence is used as the answer to solving problems, violence is used as a means to get a point across, violence is used as means to correct and teach a lesson, if that’s the kind of environment that you’ve been brought up in and it’s socially acceptable, if it’s something that socially acceptable within your family, within your community, within your home, then that’s where it’s also a contributing factor. For women, it’s all too common you hear, and women tend to be great sources of strength and power when it comes to support. Supporting your fellow sista, supporting a fellow friend, but there’s good support and there’s bad support, and there’s good appropriate ways of dealing with conflict and there’s inappropriate ways of dealing with conflict or ways that can lead you down a pathway that’s not going to help solve your, resolve your situation or make it any better, in fact it makes it worse. I mean if you resort to violence you can end up in jail, you’re breaking the law by physically assaulting somebody or hurting them or intentionally causing harm, these are issues of law coming into play now because the law protects us, it’s there to ensure that justice is fair. And there are appropriate means and ways that this can be dealt with. But if you’ve been taught that “no use your fist first”, use your hands first and then deal with the right, proper way later. Well that can also cause issues, right? So sometimes when there’s a grouping of women and they come together and they get all riled up and they’re like “beat them, beat them, beat them”, you know, that doesn’t help the situation at all and it actually just makes it worse and creates even more animosity. And it can be harder to then come to a good solution moving forward that everybody feels like “okay your voices, there was space given for your voice to be heard and your perspective to be shared”, but in a good way, in a constructive way, right? And I feel like those are some important things that we sometimes tend to forget. I think you are also sort of asking what are some things that we can do in relation to helping sort of stem this trend of constantly putting the blame on the woman, constantly resorting to violence. There needs to be more awareness and we need to be able to call out what needs to be called out, but in the appropriate way. Men calling out men that “hey, that’s not the right way to deal with this, there are proper ways and channels that you can deal with this”, women calling out women, leaders calling out men and women if they’re doing things that is not appropriate but finding solutions or ways for that helps your home, helps your community, helps everybody rather than putting continuous judgment and blame but like finding a solution that enables everybody to sort of move forward in a good way. 

 

E: Thank you Relvie. I love that you mentioned, you know, there’s different kinds of support, bad support and good support. And I feel like that’s another skill that people need to learn, when to either hold them accountable but then also tell them, you know, violence isn’t the answer, there are other ways and means to solve the issue. And I love that you also have mentioned, you know, that there needs to be more awareness and people need to realize that whoever cheated whether it was the man, whether it was the woman, they need to be held accountable, they need to be held responsible and be involved in how they can move past it in a positive way and ensure that no one else gets hurt. 

 

RP: And there’s a lot of reasons why relationships may not work out, but sometimes people don’t want to look at the reasons behind it, they just would rather like demonstrate “well no that hurt” or “I’m angry about that so this is how I’m going to deal with it” rather than actually going back to what was some of the root causes to why this situation came about to begin with and try to understand it and think logically through that so that a solution can be found, but also for healing, right? Because it’s never easy to be hurt and there’s no one way for somebody, you know, there’s no right or wrong way for somebody to heal. But it is important to have a way forward that enables that healing to take place and there’s that saying “violence begets violence” and the more you speak about things in a violent manner or choose to deal with things in a violent manner, it doesn’t actually make things better or resolves the situation, it actually just makes it a lot worse and creates more animosity and more resentment and more ill-feeling. And in the end nobody kind of gets through that in a positive way, right? It’s just a vicious cycle. 

 

E: So you also mentioned earlier that you sat down with your daughter and you asked her why these students were fighting, what was the reason behind it and she mentioned that it’s so common now. 

 

RP: Yeah. 

 

E: And that’s crazy to me. 

 

RP: I know. 

 

E: And I’m like “am I missing out on something?” because I honestly thought that it wasn’t as common as it was before, but maybe that’s just me not being out there in the social circles. But I want to know if you think that there is a shift in mindset at all. Do you think people are starting to hold men accountable? 

 

RP: I think there is. I’ve seen a little bit of a shift in mindset, I see it in social media. I recently saw, there was a post about sexual harassment and I did see, I was quite pleasantly surprised to see men coming out and saying “hey, if a sexual assault is happening, it’s not because of the way the woman is being dressed so stop blaming the woman because we constantly keep saying this”. And these were men who were saying “we need to be able to hold our own thoughts in check and if we are thinking like this and then we’re following through on these actions, then it’s our fault, it’s men who are causing it because of their own crazy thoughts”. So I, in relation to holding men accountable for their actions, yes I do see that shift and it’s good to see and like I have three sons and I’ve always been quite vocal about being respectful, not just to women but to men and women together. If somebody does something wrong, try and understand, don’t be quick to judge, don’t be quick to draw conclusions, try and see if you can gauge the whole story rather than just a part of the story that somebody else is trying to influence your way of thought towards, right? Always have an open mind about there’s a lot of different complicated reasons why certain things happen the way that they do. You don’t always have the full facts in front of you to be able to make a call about something, so be a little bit graceful like show some grace and understand that we’re all human beings. People make mistakes, people are not perfect, people will make decisions that you don’t agree with. But being an upstanding citizen also requires you to be able to recognize that and give grace for that. And also, you know, you can have values and principles and that’s good and that’s fine but handle them with love, handle them with care, handle them with a bit of kindness because sometimes that hasn’t been afforded to that person so you need to be able to demonstrate it in yourself. So it comes down to teaching as well in the home and what you’ve been taught, you know, that’s the right way of being able to deal with difficult and hard situations and also conflicts that come up. I think, yeah, it’s about how you’ve been brought up, it’s about how and what shaped you and molded you in the circles that you surround yourself with, the people that you hang around with, their attitudes, their perspectives, the way that they think, you need to be able to take all of those things into consideration and factor that in. It contributes to how we also deal with situations like this in real life because this is not new, this is something that’s always been around. But the way that we can handle them and are taught to handle them, it’s something that, it’s a taught thing and then it’s perfected over time, right? 

 

E: I love that you’ve brought that into your home and that you’ve taught that to your sons and your daughter. And I absolutely agree that that is something that should be taught within the homes because then again it comes back to the environment that you’ve been brought up in and how the people around you deal with issues, how they communicate with each other. And I feel like that is something people don’t realize and it does take a lot of self reflection I think as well. As well as building up that skill to be able to, yeah, find yourself and build those relationships with other people in your circle. 

 

RP: And grow. And grow, yeah that’s really important, you know, these kinds of situations, they are not often the most, they are the things that kind of can either pull you down or you stand up and you can grow and become stronger from it. So it’s a choice, you choose how you want to handle that and you choose how you allow it to impact you personally, impact your home personally, impact your life personally and then make sure that you can sort of share with others that strength that enables you to keep moving forward. And we’re always going to have hurts in our life, that’s a part of life, but how we choose to handle and deal with our hurts, that’s something that shows a true test of your personal character and where you draw your strength from, and different people will have different places where they draw their strength from, right? Yeah. 

 

E: And I think as well choosing how you handle the situation, like you said it can be difficult, and you also mentioned earlier that there are different kinds of support that you can either draw on. And so if your friend was in this situation, you know, finding out that maybe their partner was seeing someone else, how or what advice would you give them? And in saying this, I’m hoping that the advice that you’re going to share will hopefully inspire or empower anyone listening, you know, if they’ve come into this situation or a close friend of theirs or family comes to them and shares, you know, what has happened and hopefully this will help support them as well. 

 

RP: I guess my advice would be if you’re still very much wanting to be with your partner, go out of your way to make time to communicate, go out of your way to have that sit-down and talk it through, find a way where you can openly say the things that you felt hurt you or angered you, you need to be able to, like that’s a very personal thing that you need to find a way that you can sort of have that conversation with your partner, right, if your partner is also willing to come to the table and have that conversation. Because at the end of the day it’s going to be between you and your partner. Try that first, if that doesn’t work out, then find a way where you can get the strength and the courage to keep moving forward but in a way that enables you to grow positively and not hold on to those past hurts and those feelings of resentment or anger. Because when you continue to hold on to those types of emotions, it just drags you down, right, and it doesn’t actually enable you to keep moving forward in a good way and it makes it harder. So forgiveness is a really big thing, forgiveness is something that doesn’t come easy, it’s easy to say the word ‘forgive’ but it’s not easy to actually truly forgive in your heart. And that’s something that takes time, takes healing, takes self reflection as you stated before, it takes all of those things. Time is a healer as they say and some people are able to heal faster than others and again it comes back to your mental wellbeing and where you stand in your mind about how you want to be able to continue to where you want, or where you see yourself in your life as you progress forward. So some people can use it as a means to just go down a destructive pathway and some people use it as a means to continue to grow and come out of it stronger than ever before, right, mentally, physically, spiritually, whichever way it may be. So at the end of the day it’s always a choice, you choose, that’s your power, that is your superpower, you choose how you respond and react to all the things different things that happen in your life whether it be positive or negative, it’s a choice, how you choose to react and respond to it. And whichever way you choose to respond or react will determine the outcomes that follow. So that would be my advice. 

 

E: That was such great advice. Thank you so much Relvie for joining me today on this episode, for being part of this conversation. I’m just going to leave a little quote, well not a quote actually it was what you said, it takes two to tango, it really does. 

 

RP: It does. 

 

E: And that’s just something I feel everyone should remember and also taking into account the advice that you shared, you know, at the end of the day it’s your choice and how you react and how you  deal with the issues. And whatever follows from that, it’s because of the choice that you’ve taken. 

 

RP: And be accountable. Be accountable to whatever decision you’ve made, don’t shy away from it, face it head-on and no one’s going to fault you for being your true self. And maybe if your true self tends to go towards wanting to lash out and be angry and vengeful, okay but I would advise that that’s not ultimately the actions that come out of those types of emotions aren’t always going to be the best way forward. So just, you know, think about that before you decide to take that pathway. 

 

E: Thank you Relvie for joining me on this episode. I really hope this conversation helps deepen our understanding and also reflect on our own opinions around this topic. We’ve mentioned so many factors that come into play when a woman chooses to verbally or physically abuse the other woman, but we also mentioned the importance of communication reflection, healing and the need to hold the partner accountable. I feel like it’s also time for us to realize that we need to provide good, meaningful support, like Relvie mentioned, instead of looking at ways to blame and mock the women and the situation itself. Ladies, you hold so much power, worth and value, use that to your advantage to make the right choice. And remember, it definitely does take two to tango. 

 

Conclusion 

E: Make sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok at Sista Vanuatu and our website sista.com.vu. This is Elsie, from The RoundTable. If you want to hear more from The RoundTable podcast, make sure to tune in to the next episode.