Ashlyn Sheena Lal

Name: Ashlyn Sheena LalSheena

School: School of Social Science

Faculty: Faculty or Arts, Law & Education.

Degree of Enrolment: Masters Programme (Psychology).

Research Area: Psychology: Pacific Culture and Societies.

Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence in Fiji: The Impact of LGBT Type and Participant Ethnicity

Supervisors: Dr Neeta Ramkumar

Current Research Summary:

While there has been no direct empirical examination of sexual prejudice (i.e., prejudice based on sexual orientation) in Fiji, a review of various incidents, public statements, and religious policies suggest that such attitudes are pervasive. For example, in April 2004, two men in Fiji were sentenced to two years in prison for homosexual conduct. There was also evidence that the convictions led to increased violence against gay men in Fiji (Gay.Com, 2005). Additionally, in 2012, a gay pride march was cancelled by the police on the morning of the event. Although the new Fiji constitution bans discrimination based on sexual orientation, gay rights advocates strongly assert that homophobia in Fiji is still too commonplace and the country has a very strong anti-gay religious movement (Gay.Com, 2005).).

More generally, nine Pacific countries still criminalize homosexuality. Lesbian and gay males from these countries report continuous harassment and discrimination. Further, gay sexual activity is punishable by 14 years imprisonment in Papua New Guinea (Gerber, 2014). In 2008, the Law Reform Commission of the Solomon Islands proposed to remove criminal sanctions against homosexuality. However, the efforts of the commission was not successful due to “fierce public objection” manifested by public statements such as “legalizing gay and lesbian in this country would only encourage the breed” (Gerber, 2014). Although these anti-gay events, public statements, and public policies clearly suggest homophobia is a significant problem in Fiji and the Pacific region, empirical investigations of this issue is virtually

Testimonial- Graduate Assistant Scholarship Scheme:

I am highly grateful to be given the opportunity to continue my studies and to be able to gain experience as a GA. This scheme is highly beneficial for those who choose to further their education and grow within their field. The scheme has allowed me to go more in-depth into research techniques and has helped me to improve my writing in regards to academia.