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Crying meri: violence against women in PNG


Banil Yalomba (16) came to the Antenatal Clinic of Port Moresby after having been sexually assaulted by her ex-boyfriendPHOTOGRAPHER VLAD SOKHIN passed through PNG several weeks ago. A friend of mine had put him in touch with me, but unfortunately I was unable to assist with lining up some shots.

Nevertheless he seems to have done very well with his images of PNG. The images are graphic and a PNG friend of mine took objection to his photography, but I had to disagree.

I have a relative who killed his wife over a family dispute; he didn’t mean it but she’s gone and will never come back.

Vlad may have only been in PNG for two weeks but, as he stated in a radio interview, the women were more than willing to be photographed. They just wanted someone to care about what was happening to them.

Yes it’s raw, yes it makes PNG look bad, but it’s one aspect of PNG life that we need to see more of; not only to highlight, but more so we can own the problem.

We need to embrace this.  We need to each own this issue and turn it into some form of hope for our future.

Maybe it is great timing then that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, is right now (18-26 March) conducting her first official fact-finding mission to Papua New Guinea.

Ms Manjoo says her visit “will look at violence against women broadly, studying the main manifestations, causes and consequences of violence against women in the family, in the community, violence that is perpetrated or condoned by the State, and violence against women in the transnational sphere.”

She will meet with government authorities and representatives of civil society in Port Moresby, Goroka, Kundiawa, Minj and Buka. She will also visit shelters and detention centres and meet with individual victims of gender-based violence.

Based on the information obtained during the visit, Ms Manjoo will present a report with final findings and recommendations to a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.

I’m not sure how the UN will help in the long run, although it is some good news.

All I know is that this is certainly not a world that I want my daughter to grow up in.

Read the full feature and view the photographs Emmanuel refers to here


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Gigil Marme

The violence against women in PNG is increasing at an alarming rate, according to many reliable sources.

Women should be seen as an equal partner to men in our society.

However, they are still regarded as second class in our community and society. As such, they abuse women and violence increases in our society.

I quite agree that generally men are still at the heart of stone age mentality.No wonder why the literacy level of men in PNG is 34% compared to women 39.4%.

Therefore, one way of reducing and minimising violence against women in our communities is to educate more men in our country.

Mrs Barbara Short

Thank you Emmanuel Narokobi for your Crying Meri report on your Masalai Blog.

Let's face it, PNG's biggest problem must still be "at heart so many of them are still Stone Age men, primitive men carrying on Stone Age customs".

Thank God for the way He has worked in the hearts of so many in PNG. Thank God for the wonderful people who man the City Mission Refugee Centre.

We can work hard to stop the pollution caused by the mining, and we can work hard to get better, non-corrupt people elected into parliament.

But unless something is done to stop this violence against women, PNG will have a bad name amongst the nations of this world.

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