Male students turn nasty at UPNG protest
10 June 2021
PORT MORESBY – A mob of angry male students has disrupted a protest and threatened women objecting to sexual harassment at the University of Papua New Guinea.
The male mob also physically harassed and abused media workers covering the event.
For many years, female students have experienced persistent sexual harassment on UPNG’s Waigani campus.
The abusive treatment roared into public view after a female student was held without her consent and assaulted by a group of 10 male students near a female dormitory.
A friend of the victim took to Facebook to condemned the assault and the post went viral and drew much public criticism of the male students.
Female students responded to the incident by organising a peaceful protest at the Waigani campus on Tuesday, inviting the media to cover the event.
Clad in black, the woman demanded that the university guarantee their safety on campus
The women demanded that the UPNG administration take action against the male students responsible for the harassment.
They were led by Nancy Poglau, female vice president of the students’ representative council, who said there had been sexual harassment of female students over many years.
“We want to address this issue. We want our voices to be heard,” an emotional Ms Poglau said.
“We came to UPNG because of our knowledge and why are you harassing us?
“Most male students don’t harass females but those few doing this [should] see us as your sisters and mothers.
“We must put to an end to this issue,” she said.
The women’s protest angered male students and a mob formed and disrupted the protest.
It also abused and physically harassed media personnel who were chased to another campus building.
University security and administration personnel at the protest were overwhelmed by the mob.
The angry male students demanded that the media not report on the issue claiming it was “an internal matter to be dealt with by the UPNG administration”.
Meanwhile, governors Peter Ipatas (Enga) and Gary Juffa (Oro) have urged prime minister James Marape to ask the Australian government to send police to assist Papua New Guinea’s under-strength constabulary.
“There is lawlessness everywhere and it is affecting all aspects of development,” Juffa said.
“We need to protect vulnerable people.”
The United Nations recommends there should be a ratio of one police officer for every 400 people. In PNG the ratio is one for every 1,200 people.
Sources: PNG Bulletin Online, Loop PNG
UPNG is obviously a microcosm of society in general in current day PNG..
Whilst it should be an example of what things should be in a modern society unfortunately this is obviously not the case..
It would appear that the future leaders of PNG seem to be oblivious of the accepted standards of behaviour required in a modern society. The UPNG administration have to get rid of the misogynistic attitudes including the perpetrators from their institution.
Posted by: Bill McKibben | 11 June 2021 at 09:12 PM
University is a place for high learning with pride and dignity. Discipline is equally important as academic learning. All students should respect each other upholding moral values. If one can not discipline himself or her self send them home. Male students without sisters or mothers would want to act violent towards female students. its time we need to control our behaviors and act justly.
Posted by: Philip Kai Morre | 11 June 2021 at 08:35 PM
Recently I've been reading true crime books and came across a book 'Lucky' by Alice Sebold, who was a university student in the 1981 and was brutally raped near her university campus in New York during her freshman year as an 18 year old.
Goes to say that problems of males harassing and assaulting females is an age old one and an a universal one.
Females are told to change to be safe while males are not told to change anything about their behavior. It is always about people telling females to stick to groups, wear less provocative clothing and to not be outside after dark - and never for males to change anything about their own behaviour.
I think there have been numerous incidents in the past that have gone unnoticed and the only time females try to speak up about it, male students are there to moderate a conversation that is not affecting them in any major way.
Posted by: Hazel Kutkue | 11 June 2021 at 09:14 AM
Policing in PNG:
Population 8,935,000 (2019 estimate)
Police 4,800 = 1,861 people per officer
Australia 70,000 police - one per 368 people
UK 175,000 police - one per 389 people
Posted by: Arthur Williams | 11 June 2021 at 12:21 AM
That strewth concealed, the truth revealed,
those some, coarse male, ought be in gaol?
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 10 June 2021 at 11:01 AM
Big problem in Australian universities too.
And a similar response from male students.
Also goes on in the Australian parliament.
If PNG ever sets aside seats for women the issue of their safety from their male counterparts will have to be considered.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 10 June 2021 at 10:29 AM