Addressing violence and sexual abuse against women in Papua New Guinea
By Mouna Narara For many women in Papua New Guinea (PNG), violence and abuse are part of their daily lives. Domestic and sexual violence are reported to the cause of many homicides occurring in PNG. The incidence of violence and abuse happens to be a common trend where in many instances, women fall victim to men’s abusive behaviour and actions. PNG’s former Health Minister, Michael Malabag on 20 March 2019 reported, ‘almost 68% of women experience violence and abuses are worsening.’
Some people with very traditional beliefs think they have the right to control their partner and that women aren’t equal to men.
Many strategies have been adopted by the government over the years to deal with gender based violence. However, a recent Post Courier article, “Police report rise in homicide, sexual violence”, on 20 March 2019 suggests that not enough resources had been committed, and government and community support and attention is inadequate.
One reason for PNG’s failure in finding effective tactics to resolve violence is because the focus has been on addressing the consequences of violence, and ignoring the root causes of why it occurs. Priority should be on education and awareness about violence, rather than just jailing offenders.
To their credit, there are already a number of community initiatives and groups who focus on conducting public awareness and education on the causes of violence, its consequences, laws against it, and ways of preventing and resolving disputes. But more is needed.
The fight against violence demands the full participation of every individual and organisation. The approach to addressing violence has to change. The primary objective must be to eliminate the root cause of violence and abuse and, through education and awareness, change the mindset of individuals. With government support, voluntary groups, churches, community associations, and specifically designated governmental organisations must be given the authority …read more