Domestic violence within
24 February 2014
An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry
For every woman, freedom must be lived and felt
I am a young woman
I have heard, seen and read about women like me,
Old women and young women, women from all walks of life;
Abused, beaten, killed, cursed, murdered.
What do you call this?
My country is the country of freedom!
But I have my fears of living my freedom
As a young woman in this free country
How can I walk freely around my neighbourhood, my community, my town and my city?
Because if I am not being beaten, killed or murdered,
I get harassed, raped or verbally abused.
Should I get blamed?
For my lack of judgment?
Of being at the wrong place at the wrong time?
For the clothes I worn are not appropriate?
For being a beautiful woman
With my slender built or my curvy built?
A pleasant sight or a tempting sight with every stride I take?
When every man thinks they are free to say anything they feel about me!
Isn’t this domestic violence?
For being just me?
Arab women get raped. Old women get raped. Pregnant women get raped. Underaged non-sexually active girls get raped. Heck, even young boys and men get raped.
We should all wear sackcloth and ash, walk with eyes downcast and mourn the lack of eye candy.
Posted by: Michael Dom | 25 February 2014 at 08:11 AM
I wonder if, in PNG, there is a similar interposition, as in Australia, of media between cultural commonsense, and inflamed expectations of male mindsets?
Add alcohol to the mix, and resolve to be disciplined flies out the window.
Posted by: Robin Lillicrapp | 25 February 2014 at 07:51 AM
Michael. I think it all comes down to the fact that women usually don't end up being as strong physically as men. I mean, they would mainly lose in a physical fight. It is the way they are made.
So when young men and women enter the world of "sexual activity" giving each other the "eye" and making themselves look attractive to the opposite sex, if there is any disagreement and a physical fight erupts, the women lose.
I'm sure my beautiful young Australian girls gave a few of the local lads an eye, but the baggy dresses would have turned them off quick time!
Posted by: Mrs Barbara Short | 25 February 2014 at 07:23 AM
Fear, anger, retribution - understandable sentiments for women living in the war zone of PNG domestic and public life.
Are all men the enemy or is their a mindset and culture that needs decapitating even among women folk?
The men who perpetrate crimes against the fairer sex, were once babies nursed on the breasts of a mother. What goes wrong?
Posted by: Michael Dom | 25 February 2014 at 03:58 AM
Yes, I believe the White Women's Protection Ordinance was set up after a lady thought she was attacked after she wore revealing clothing. What do they say "Forewarned is Forearmed"?
I was responsible for these young girls and could remember on a previous trip in 1970 some of the PLC girls had gone off to smoke behind the dormitories in Rabaul Children's Hostel! Shock, horror!
I had also heard about an Australian lady who had wandered off along a beach near Kavieng and been attacked. So I felt I had "to put a certain level of fear and respect for male urges" into their minds before I set off.
I even had them living in the villages for a few days with my former New Ireland students to look after them. So they had a good experience of PNG life in those times.
Posted by: Mrs Barbara Short | 24 February 2014 at 10:50 AM
Wasn't that the theory behind the 'White Women's Protection Ordinance', Barbara?
I well remember kalabusing a few young men for touching the breasts of young women in places like the Star Mountains where the women wore very little clothing.
The young blokes were dragged in by older men outraged by their behaviour.
Posted by: Phil Fitzpatrick | 24 February 2014 at 09:18 AM
When I brought a group of beautiful young women from Pymble Ladies' College to PNG for a trip back in 1985 I suggested they all go out and make themsleves some plain large dresses that covered themselves well so that no PNG man would get aroused just by looking at them.
They were all amazed by my suggestion but they went and did what I suggested and we had a great time in PNG. No worries!
I did the same thing during my 13 years in PNG. No worries. I just felt that as some PNG men were easily aroused and others would try to take advantage of me I should take some precautions.
But men should not feel they are free to say bad things about you to you in public or publicly proposition you all the time. Just tell them off!
Posted by: Mrs Barbara Short | 24 February 2014 at 08:42 AM