Stephanie Ephraim – Sista Gat Style

Check out these never before seen photos! Happy 38th Independence Vanuatu! 

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Stephanie Ephraim is no stranger to resistance. Her very existence as an activist, feminist, photographer, model and founder of Vanuatu Feminist Library has seen people attempt to put her down and shame her into submission. Stephanie refuses to be colonized by anyone – this young woman is free in her independence and dreams for everyone to live in a society where they are accepted and loved as they are. #RespectMyExistence #OrExpectMyResistance #ProudNiVan

Name:

Stephanie Ephraim

Age:

23

Occupation:

Gender Justice Officer at an Non- Government Organization

Tell us about your family?

My family are from Vanua Lava, Banks. We grew up in a small village outside Luganville, and moved when I was about 10 to Vila. I have two sisters and three brothers. Two are older, and three are younger than me. I’m growing closer and closer to the younger ones as they grow up. My mum had to work really, really hard to get us through school and to keep us in Vila. Things haven’t always been easy, and just like most families in Port Vila, money has been hard. My mum’s strength and hard work has been inspiring. As a strong woman who has faced many challenges, she is the root of my feminism.

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What do you like to do in your spare time?

First and foremost I am an activist and an advocate for human rights and equality, especially gender equality. The lines are blurry between work and hobbies, because that runs through everything. Learning more about how we can live better together is a hobby but also what I hope will be my life’s work.

I love photography, especially when I can get a bit artistic and expressive with it. I also love reading, but I didn’t always. Reading is something I’ve learned to love later. It started to make sense to me because you can really learn so much and expand your mind. I used to think reading was something to do with school, and school didn’t always seem very ‘real’.

That’s why I’ve started the Vanuatu Feminist Library because I’ve come across so many books that were really helpful about women’s issues. These books helped me to believe that we can push for change here in Vanuatu. There are books that teach you what feminism is, how the systems of the world we live in can often hold women back, sometimes without them noticing. There are things about being a feminist mother, about having a successful career as a woman, about challenging the system and pushing for change, about what has worked in other countries.

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At first, reading was a bit hard for me, so the library is also about encouraging people to read and supporting them through it by discussing the texts, organizing small events. The idea is to build a network of feminists so we can collaborate with ideas, projects, support and discussions.

I also love music, dancing, and great food! But who doesn’t, right?

I study Community Development at APTC and Gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women at Women Deliver.

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What do you aspire to do in the future?

I hope to be a part of a community of feminists, which can hopefully grow around the library, who can really push for positive changes to women’s and men’s lives in Vanuatu. A community which expands awareness of what’s possible for people of different genders, and how we can all benefit from having less rigid unwritten rules around what men and women must be and do.

Amongst all of these ambitions though, I also hope to be able to look after my family one day… my mother, father, my brothers and sisters, and that’s not even thinking of my own children one day. This is a reality for us here in Port Vila: most of us are pretty worried about making ends meet for the future, and sometimes that makes it hard to aim really high. It also means that not all of us can go to university, because we need to get to work and support our families. That’s another reason why I want to encourage people to come down to VFL.   Because we can all keep learning and growing through reading, even if it’s just ten or twenty minutes a day.

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How would you describe your style?

My style is relaxed and casual, but I feel like we all say that.   The truth is, you can attract a lot of negative attention if you dress up too much in Port Vila, whether its harassment or gossip. So I think many of us would like to dress up more, but play it down.

I love to dress up for photo shoots, I am wearing a dress made by Mia Bridal in this shoot.I alsolove to design extravagant outfits for my models. But I feel more comfortable wearing something a bit more relaxed around town. Bright colours look great with our melanin, and tight clothes look good on our feminine bodies!

I’ve always liked wearing jeans, and preferred sleeveless tops. I can’t handle colder weather, but I do like that it allows you to dress a bit more creatively sometimes. 

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Where do you buy your clothes from?

Mostly from Stret Price and other second hand shops here, because you can get good quality clothes that are affordable. The second-hand shop culture around Port Vila is great, because all sorts of different things come through, and you can find a range of styles. A few times I’ve been lucky to travel, and got some great clothes from second hand shops overseas as well.

Who influences your style?

I’m always inspired by confident women, who dress in their own personal style and wear it well. I’m more likely to be inspired by the woman than her clothes, but I do like it when women aren’t afraid to dress the way that they’re comfortable, and women who have a signature style.

What beauty products do you use?

I wear a watch that I absolutely love. I feel like it’s a detail that adds something to a look. I Perfume is expensive, but one day I’d love to wear Lancome’s ‘La Vie Est Belle’. Once I was given a small bottle of YSL ‘Parisienne’ and wore it on special occasions.

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Any fashion advice?

Mostly, be yourself because you look best when you feel good. But don’t be afraid to stand out and shine sometimes, even if it’s a little bit uncomfortable. We Ni-Vanuatu don’t like to stand out too much, but sometime we all deserve to be the most interesting person in the room. I say, every now and then, dress outside your comfort zone. Dress to make yourself say ‘damn, girl, you look cool.’


Assistant Stylist: Irene Abbock

Photographer: Nicky Kuautonga

Hair, beauty and nails: Body and Soul Vanuatu 


This article was originally published in the July edition of the Vanuatu Daily Post Life and Style magazine

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NEWS

  • Man sentenced for sexually assaulting stepdaughter

    53-year-old John Nikahi has been sentenced to 7 years and 4 months’ imprisonment, after being found guilty for having sexual intercourse with his stepdaughter. This was the second time that the minor was abused by her step-father. Nikahi was previously convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with his then 9-year-old step-daughter and sentenced to 5 years and 4 months imprisonment. He was released on parole, which continued until December 2017. The recent offending occurred only some 15 months later. The repeated offence happened in 2019 when he forcefully had sexual intercourse with her several times. He told his stepdaughter not to tell her mother. At that time, Nikahi was 51 years old and his stepdaughter was 19. The matters came to light following a dispute between Mr. Nikahi and his wife, which involved assault, leading to the police becoming ` involved. Sexual intercourse without consent has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Nikahi was given a sentence starting point of 8 years’ imprisonment. Aggravating factors considered were as follows: Gross breach of trust, completely undermining the relation of stepfather and stepdaughter, instruction the victim not to report the matter to her mother, pre-meditation involved, repeated nature of offending, offending occurred at Joana’s home where she should be able to feel safe, lack of protection used exposing the victim to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy and effects of the offending on the victim as this was the second time. His sentence was reduced by 2 months due personal circumstances. He was given a sentence uplift of 6 months imprisonment due to the repeat nature of offending. Nikahi is unemployed with three children. He previously worked as a security guard and has some skills in gardening. He is said to have good relations with his wider family and community. His sentence commenced from when he was incarcerated on September 2020. His sentence could not be suspended due to the seriousness of the offending and type of criminal conduct involved. He was given 14 days to appeal. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Pepsi women, youth and people with special needs petition MP Ati

    Women, youth and people living with a disability at Pepsi area in Luganville have petitioned a Member of Parliament for Luganville, Marc Ati, to build a community hall for the women, improve the drainage system and provide a grant to support people with special needs. Elianeth John, presented the women’s petition to MP Athy who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday this week. “We would like to present to you this morning our petition for you to build a community hall for the women at the green space at Pepsi. I’m speaking on behalf of all the women at Pepsi and Sarakata because many of these women have not been able to attend skills trainings anywhere,” she told the MP. “We see that this is a major need for many women and young people here who have dropped out of school. This community hall will help provide a venue for our women and young people to attend skills trainings in different fields so they could do something that will help improve their lives. “It will help keep our young men from criminal activities. The hall will allow us to help train these young people so they could support their families so we all can maintain a good community to change the profile of Pepsi as the leading community in Luganville Town with high crime rates.” A Youth Representative for the area, Andrew Faru, also requested MP Athy to ensure the two roads at the end of Pepsi area be tar sealed. “One road begins from where the Tanna people resides at Pepsi that leads to Tangara and the other one begins at the river at Pepsi and leads to Dark Corner,” he said. “Our second request is that we need a proper drainage system for the tar seal road so flood water during heavy rain will not damage the new tar seal road.” Faru acknowledged MP Ati for addressing the Pepsi road upgrade to tar seal. Manager of the Public Works Department (PWD) in Santo, Henry Wells, said the launching of the Pepsi road upgrade to tar seal on Wednesday, will first cover 800 meters of the road. The Department will then focus on upgrading the drainage system. Chairman of the People Living with a Disability Association at Pepsi, Sarakata and Solway Area, Allan, also requested MP Ati to negotiate for the tar seal of the road at Pepsi Four to the Solway Area. He said more than 80 people living with disability are residing at Pepsi, Solway and Sarakata areas in Luganville. Allan said many of these people with special needs are residing at the end of the roads at Pepsi up in the bush and needed accessible roads. “Our disable people have the same right as everyone else to use a better road,” he said. He also petitioned Ati for a grant to support the activities for people with disability at Pepsi Area. PWD Director, Malcolm Tarileo, said the Department has an inclusive policy, which includes every person, to ensure no one is left behind. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • 9-YEAR JAIL TERM FOR RAPIST

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  • SEXUAL CRIMES TOP STATISTICS OVER 9 YEARS

    Sexual crimes have continued to top the statistics of offences in Vanuatu for almost a decade, with over 50% offenders in the Correctional Centers throughout the country. Data from the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) spanning the past nine years confirmed this alarming trend. Each year since 2012, the DOCS has been undertaking a census survey on offenders in the Correctional Centers, as well as on community-based sentences, to help the Department assess how to address their offending behaviours, and rehabilitation needs. Under the survey, these sexual offences are called offences against Morality. They range from: Unlawful Sexual Intercourse without Consent, Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with girl under care, Incest, Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with underage and Indecent Act or Act of Indecency. There are different contributing factors for each case but mostly some major factors for sexual offenders is entitlement/sex entitlement, unable to control their sexual thoughts in an appropriate manner, alcohol, drugs and pornography. It is vital to note that when offenders do not have insight to their offending and keep denying and shifting blame to the victims, they always offend and re-offend. The 2021 census shows that morality is the highest offence committed by detainees in Vanuatu (49%), and also the highest offence committed by community-based offenders (31%). In previous years, surveys were 49% to 50% and above. A disturbing finding revealed from the 2021 survey is that more clergymen are committing sexual offences than before. A sad truth that the survey disclosed was that the victims of these sexual offences are not strangers, but are known to the offender and within family and area. Other alarming findings include; married offenders are also committing sexual offences, albeit they have spouses more than before, and also most common level of education for both detainees and community-based offenders was Year 6. While Tanna and Malekula are the most common home island of offenders, most of them were residing on either Efate or Santo at the time of offending According to the survey, 84% of detainees were actively engaged in formal employment and a further 88% of detainees are first time offenders, while 86% of offenders in the community are first timers. In addition, 21 – 30 years old continues to be the main age group for offenders serving in the community and detainees Interestingly, it was noted that offenders without children are getting fewer, compared to the last seven censuses while the number of offenders with more than two children is increasing. The detainee population on 14 September 2021 was 287 persons, including six females. The community-based offenders’ population on 14 September 2021 was 245 persons, including ten females. Vanuatu’s rate of Imprisonment is the fourth lowest in the Pacific The DOCS continues to work with the community and the criminal justice partners or stakeholders towards maintaining a safe, humane and just society. But sexual offences are increasing, therefore there is a real need for more work to be done by everyone, at all levels. The DOCS’ census survey only captured all cases passed through the Correctional system in the way of a pre-sentence report of an offender, as requested by the Supreme or Magistrate Court, or when an imprisonment sentence is imposed and registered in the Corrections database. The DOCS echoes this as a national concern and calls on parents, Churches, chiefs and other community social agencies to continue to work together to address the rising sexual offending. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Court Briefs – 11 Jan 2022

    10 months’ imprisonment for possession of cannabis Simon Edmond Philip pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of dangerous drugs. The maximum sentence for this offence is a fine not exceeding VT100 million or 20 years’ imprisonment, or both. The mitigating factors are as follows: pleaded guilty, his character and personal history from his pre-sentence report, 34 years old, lives with his fiancée and they have three children. He is self-employed – he operates a kava bar with his fiancée. He also performed a custom reconciliation ceremony with his chief and another to his family. The defendant’s end sentence is 10 and a half months imprisonment and the cannabis seized by the Police is to be destroyed.   Duo charged with possession of dangerous drugs Danny Robert and Kalo August pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of dangerous drugs, and one charge of attempted supply of dangerous drugs. The maximum sentence for these offences is a fine not exceeding VT100 million or 20 years’ imprisonment, or both. The mitigating factors are as follows: Robert pleaded guilty, his character and personal history from his pre-sentence report were taken into account, he is 21 years old and a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He has been selling marijuana and earning money from it for a while before being caught. He has skills in construction work and joinery, currently employed by CWR Construction as a construction worker and has no previous convictions. August also pleaded guilty, his character and personal history from his pre-sentence report were considered, he is 20 years old and a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He is an Agriculture and Social Science teacher at Etas Seventh Day Adventist School. August is also a student at the University of the South Pacific’s Emalus Campus and he has no previous convictions. August is sentenced to 12 months under supervision. He is required to take part in a rehabilitative and reintegrative needs assessment and/or programme when directed to do so by a probation officer. For Robert, the end sentence imposed on the possession charges is 8 months’ imprisonment.   Man charged with indecency with a young person Kalo Charley pleaded guilty to two charges of act of indecency with a young person and three charges of act of indecency without consent. The maximum sentence for these offences is 10 years and 7 years’ imprisonment. The relevant factors are as follows: guilty plea, his character and personal history from his pre-sentence report were considered, he is married and has 4 children and a step-daughter. He supports his family through seasonal work overseas and has no previous convictions. His wife is still on good marriage terms with him, for which he is said to be truly grateful. He believes his children will shun him for his actions for which he says he will live with regret all his life. His offer to perform a custom reconciliation ceremony has been refused by the complainants and their families. Charley’s end sentence imposed (Count 1) for an Act of indecency without consent is 3 years 6 months imprisonment; (Count 2) Act of indecency without consent is 3 years imprisonment; (Count 3) Act of indecency without consent again, 3 years imprisonment; (Count 4) Act of indecency with a young person 3 years 10 months’ imprisonment; and (Count 5) Act of indecency with a young person is 3 years 6 months’ imprisonment.   6 years and 10-month jail term for Intentional homicide Caroline Wasabulu pleaded guilty to one charge of intentional homicide. The maximum sentence for this offence is 20 years imprisonment. The mitigating factors are as follows: Wasabulu pleaded guilty, her personal history and character were considered, she was 46 years old at the time of the offending. She has 5 children and 4 grandchildren. Wasabulu makes a living from selling food at the kava bar. She has no previous convictions. The deceased’s family have refused a reconciliation ceremony. She now has the loss of companionship at her age. Wasabulu’s end sentence imposed is 6 years and 10 months’ imprisonment.   Man charged with attempted intentional assault John William Haiegospin faced numerous charges. He pleaded guilty for intentional assault attempt, driving under the influence of alcohol, threats to kill, malicious damage to property, theft and escape for lawful custody. There are no mitigating factors, However, the circumstances of this case required that the primary consideration for sentencing Haiegospin, who was only 20 years of age at the time of this offending, should be rehabilitative rather than punitive. Haiegospin’s end sentence is 250 hours of Community Work and 12 months of supervision with several conditions. He will be assessed to attend and complete courses to deal with consumption of alcohol and drugs, anti-violence, respect for elders and the community, as well as budgeting. He is also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 3 years, from March 12, 2019.   Jail term for unlawful entry and theft John Enock pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful entry of a dwelling house and one count of theft. The offence of unlawful entry of a dwelling house is punishable by imprisonment for a period of up to 20 years’ imprisonment where the house is used for human habitation. Theft is also punishable by imprisonment for up to 12 years. The aggravating and personal factors are as follows: There is some degree of planning as the offending occurred at night and the amount of money taken and misused was substantial. He also had no authorization to enter the house. He is 25 years old and completed his education at Year 12 at the Lycee LAB in Port Vila and could not continue due to financial difficulties, he is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church and relates well with his community and families. William’s end sentence is to a term rounded off to 1-year imprisonment. On the charge of theft, he is sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment.   5-year jail term for sexual intercourse without consent Jackson Moffet pleaded guilty to two read more…

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