Written by: Karallyn Fitisone
As previously expressed in the initial Rural Newsletter Article, the American Samoa
Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (Alliance) has always prioritized the need to
understand the experience of violence amongst our people in an effort to combat, mitigate,
decrease, or prevent instances of violence. Some key factors to reiterate in this article is that this
project is made possible through a Rural Grant that was granted by the Office of Violence
Against Women (OVW) through the United States Department of Justice. In this project, we are
focused on the fa’afafine population of American Samoa. Some major goals of the project
include investigating or gathering information on fa’afafine experiences of violence and their
help seeking behaviors. We are trying to understand where it is that fa’afafine are going to for
help for instances of violence. Simultaneously, we also seek to understand our service providers
experiences of service provision to fa’afafine. Asking questions about their experiences, training,
thoughts on fa’afafine experiencing violence, their thoughts on the community addressing the
needs of fa’afafine and ways to address the needs of fa’afafine especially from their respective
Be sure to check out the previous newsletter for more context, issues being addressed, and
intended outcomes of the project:
For data gathering, the project has 2 main portions: the first was primarily with fa’afafine
via surveys, focus group discussions, and interviews. This first portion of the project has been
completed and we are actively working on the second portion of the project which assesses our
service providers via surveys, interviews, and discussions. We have successfully collected
information from various sectors of the community: social/ healthcare /legal /political /education
services regarding their service provision to fa’afafine. We are very grateful for the support from
our community in being a part of the project and providing their time and insights.
Some exciting new additions to our project:
Falalalaga Podcast: The Samoan term “Falalalaga'' translates into mat weaving, or in our case
the podcast is our mat while our stories, experiences, and opinions are the strands being woven to
produce that mat. This activity, often accompanied by storytelling, is used to symbolize
fellowship, respect, and reciprocity and is quite common throughout Pasefika.
Be sure to check out our podcast on Anchor, Spotify. Your hosts are Executive Director: Ms.
Jennifer Tofaeono, Ms. Uni Tanielu, and Ms. Karallyn Fitisone. The aim of the podcast is to
provide a safe space or platform to discuss important topics related to the Rural project and
beyond. Our goal is to produce 2 episodes a month with varied content and topics. We hope that
this podcast stimulates positivity, encouragement, compassion, and inclusivity amongst listeners.
As well as offers listeners the opportunity to reflect on their thoughts and experiences of topics
that are discussed, and maybe challenge or question some maladaptive or harmful beliefs.
Other Media Coverage: Be sure to look out for the PSAs for updates and or information
regarding the Rural project. The initial PSA is aimed to give a brief glimpse as to what the
project is all about and serves as an additional source of resources since resources are listed
throughout the PSA if the audience wishes to read more about the information included. The
second PSA is to update the public on the progress of the project. This PSA will discuss all the
aforementioned additions as well as discuss the second portion of the project. These will be
posted on the Alliance website as well as on the Alliance social media platforms.
What To Look Forward To: In the next few months of the New Year, the Alliance hopes to
continue developing more awareness of violence experienced by our fa’afafine population as
well as find ways to promote collaboration of service providers and service users such as
fa’afafine. Training Curriculum/Outreach plans are currently being developed, and more details
on these can be provided as more information becomes available. However, it should be noted
that these plans will prioritize the creation of safe spaces, empathy, and understanding
experiences of both fa’afafine and service providers working with them.
For more information on the Rural Grant Project feel free to contact the Alliance. Contact
information can be found here - http://www.asalliance.co/contact.html. Follow along on any of
the Alliance social media pages or check in to the alliance website for updates on project
progress! Thank you for reading! Happy Holidays!