On May 15th 2013, women and children will take action to highlight the frightening levels of violence against women and children in Papua New Guinea.
I add my voice to this protest or plea for help
I write. It is my weapon. But more and more I realise more is needed.
Domestic Violence and sexual abuse is worldwide so why the fuss. I have written this post many times, changed it many times. I wanted to show you how prevalent Domestic Violence and sexual abuse is here. I will do my best to inspire you to join us or help those in your countries.
Last night I sat and counted my loved ones. The women and children. I then worked out how many of them had been touched by it.
I can say only 5 of them have NOT been touched by it. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around.
How many people can you count who have been touched by it can you say all but 5?
Violence in Papua New Guinea is normal. It is a way of life. It happens so you make do. You pick up and move on.
Almost every woman and friend I know has been touched by it – directly.
I have stood in the middle of it and I have watched helplessly frozen with fear like a coward as it unfolded. I have been the brunt of it.
I have watched people I love change from happy confident to withdrawn mice. I have watched and ached for those who cannot leave out of fear.
I watched my beautiful female relatives cower, heard about my sister standing one foot off the ground getting wacked on her leg every time her foot touched the ground by the man she loved and bore children with.
I have sat at my workplace at lunch crying with a friend not with just one friend but several. I have fought with three armed men as they tried drag me into the bushes as told me what they would do to me.
I have heard the reasons or the justifications for it so often.
I think what scares me the most is the justifications coming from women. Women justifying why their friend’s, sister, in-law, mother was hit or chopped, stabbed or beaten unconscious. If we, the woman ourselves are accepting of it. Then we must act.
I have two girls. Statistics tell me 2 out of 3 women in Papua New Guinea are abused. I guess that says it all.
On May 14- 15TH when we ask our government to see our plight and implement and enforce laws to protect us.
VIOLENCE IS NOT A WAY OF LIFE.
Below are two article’s which have more details about it.
Article from ABC Australian news network
National mourning for PNG victims of violence
Photo: A husband shows off the disfigured ear of his wife in the Morobe block of Port Moresby. PNG’s prime minister says domestic violence is set to become a criminal offence. (Supplied: Vlad Sokhin)
Map: Papua New Guinea
A national day of mourning will be held today in Papua New Guinea to highlight increasing violence against women through rape, murder and allegations of witchcraft.
The traditional Haus Krai will begin in Port Moresby on Tuesday with a prayer vigil to be held throughout the night.
A sit-in protest will be held on Wednesday to coincide with the new sitting of parliament.
Similar Haus Krai events for PNG women are taking place in Australia, Fiji and the United States.
Organiser Esther Igo has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the event has widespread community support because there has been so much violence against women and children in the Pacific nation.
“We have got the entire country coming together for this national Haus Krai,” she said.
“We have got women’s organisations, government agencies, NGOs, charity organisations coming together right around the country.”
Audio: PNG women demand an end to violence (ABC News)
The two-day event comes after a spate of violent crimes against women, including a beheading and the burning alive of a woman accused of witchcraft.
The gang-rape of two foreigners in PNG last month also sparked international condemnation.
Reverend Stephen Leach, from the Sojourners Mission in Port Moresby, says the event aims to show PNG and the international community that “we are not only the perpetrators of violence…we are victims of that violence.”
“This nation has been suffering for a long time as a result of violence across the broad spectrum, not just domestic violence, but also gender-based violence and tribal and ethnic conflicts within the borders of our society,” he said.
“And what we intend to do with this national Haus Krai, which in pidgin Haus Krai in English is translated essentially a wake of a visitation or a funeral service.
“We felt compelled in light of the recent escalation of violence, especially gender-based and sorcery accusation-related violence, to hold a national day of mourning.”
Topics:domestic-violence, crime, women, papua-new-guinea, pacific
Updated 1 hour 10 minutes ago
Taken from ABC Australian Radio website
PNG anti-violence activists organising nationwide ‘Haus Krai’ 1 May 2013, 11:08 AEST
A national day of mourning is planned in Papua New Guinea in mid-May to highlight the violence and suffering of women through rape, murder and claims of witchcraft.
PNG anti-violence activists organising nationwide ‘Haus Krai’ (Credit: ABC) The organisers hope to attract thousands of people to a traditional “Haus Krai” or wake in Port Moresby to coincide with the next sitting of the national parliament.
Speaker: Reverend Stephen Leach, of the Sojourners Mission in Port Moresby LEACH: This nation has been suffering for a long time as a result of violence across the broad spectrum, not just domestic violence, but also gender-based violence and tribal and ethnic conflicts within the borders of our society. And what we intend to do with this national Haus Krai, which in pidgin Haus Krai in English is translated essentially a wake of a visitation or a funeral service. And we felt compelled in light of the recent escalation of violence, especially gender-based and sorcery accusation related violence, to hold a national day of mourning. And this is not something that I’m doing alone, it is a grassroots coalition of different women’s groups and NGOs, over 40 of them in fact that we have come together with one mind and one purpose, and that is to demonstrate to not only the
politicians here in Papua New Guinea in our society here, but to the international community that we are not only the perpetrators of violence but we are suffering and we are victims of that violence. And so we desire to come together and mourn, and if there is one thing that we as Papua New Guineans can do it is mourn, we can weep and we can wail and we can demonstrate our sorrow and our shame, and that is something that we desperately want to do. So we’ve decided to hold this national Haus Krai, a group called Women Arise, which is a group of Papua New Guinean women that have come together over the past two months since the burning of an Engan lady in Mount Hagen really, really started this push. They’ve come together and brought all these NGOs under one umbrella and different religious groups, churches, we’re all coming together to hold this national day of mourning to coincide with the next session of the Papua New Guinea parliament. So while they’re in session we will be mourning just at close proximity to Parliament House.
ABBOTT: How many people do you think this day of mourning will attract? LEACH: Well we do not know, it’s hard to put a number down here in PNG, but we estimate at least five-thousand. But we’re hoping that many more will come, and there’s been a lot of interest, not only within Papua New Guinea, within Port Moresby, but also throughout the country. And people will be holding simultaneous Haus Krais throughout the nation beginning on May 14th that night going all night long we will be mourning going all the way into the next day. And also across the world there are Papua New Guineans that are living abroad, there’s a group in Sweden that have organised a Haus Krai, a group in America that will go to the embassy in Washington DC and also stand in solidarity with their sisters here in PNG to demonstrate to the world that collectively we are suffering as a nation.
ABBOTT: Do you think Papua New Guinea’s been shamed into taking this action? LEACH: I believe that we as the grassroots line have been compelled and shamed into this action. We tend to be a very proud people and especially what has happened to the expatriates who have been recently raped and killed here in the past three months; the Filipino lady that was raped, the American lady that was raped in Madang and barely escaped with her life, and recently two women who were Singaporean were abducted and raped from a national shopping mall here in the capital city. And when it happens to an expatriate, when it happens to a white or an Asian lady, it generates a lot of attention and not only nationally but internationally and a lot of shame. But what we feel is indignation towards those that have issued apologies on behalf of Papua New Guinea when it happens to an expatriate. But daily our women are suffering the same fate here, and it is not recognised and there are no apologies issued and there’s nothing done to assist them. The American lady just before she was evacuated out of PNG a few weeks ago, last Sunday I believe as she was boarding the plane at Jackson’s airport and being evacuated out of this beautiful, beautiful nation, she told the activists that were there on the ground that had assisted her, I want what happened to me I want to tell my story and allow what happened to me to transform Papua New Guinea, not because I was white, not because I was American, but because I was a woman. And that has really been a rallying cry for us to articulate and mourn and publicly shame, express our shame and remorse and sadness not based upon skin colour or nationality, but based upon the fact that this is happening daily to the women of this nation.
ABBOTT: Do you believe that violence is part of the culture of Papua New Guinea and maybe this is why this is violence is happening? LEACH: I wouldn’t want to say that because the Papua New Guinea that I know and love is a beautiful and amazing country interwoven out of a thousand tribes and 872 different languages into one sovereign nation. There’s so much beauty and diversity within this culture and within this country, and I wouldn’t want to say that violence is a part of our culture. But in reality daily we are faced with really barbaric examples of violence. And it’s something that has escalated even since the beginning of this year and it has really gotten out of control. And I think it is high time for the society, the church, the government and various NGOs that up until this point have perhaps not been working in unison together, now is the time for them to come together on the same page and with the same expressed purpose
makes me replay,
*************************************************************** It is that moment before the boom. It’s the noiselessness, the stillness before the storm. That knowledge something is coming and its going to hurt but not knowing, why, what or how, when. The hyper awareness, the wait. It’s that.
COLOURS OF A QUEEN
Over the horizon
does Grey peek
asking to be let in
not long she stays
just a moment
to bid Night away
to make haste
to be gone
on his melancholy way
she streaks through
throwing her arms wide
Orange stomps in
“look look at me”
stretching out infinitely
allowing her other selves
sweet melodious song,
as she rises
to let one
to let all
Another mad rant I found. I have heaps of notebooks, torn pieces of paper with stuff scribbled all over them. Even (would you believe) torn bits of cardboard boxes from when I got inspiration outside a hospital ward and there was no paper around. I know a lot of you can relate.
A New Day
Her body ached from him. He had left his mark all over her body.
She shifted in the bed straining for any sound that came back. Would he come back and join her? She wondered as he rattled around the kitchen.
She lay on the bed sore from last nights games, thinking about his smile and the tenderness that would fill his eyes when he looked at her when they had first met. The look that would lure you in and make you believe that true love wasn’t just a dream. It always worked. She could never resist.
Last night was their anniversary; it was definitely a night she would never forget!
He whistled as he did whatever he was doing. She wondered which child he was talking too as he asked about what his or her plans were for the day?
It was a one side conversation, as always.
She turned again and realized clothes’ were flung everywhere across the room, her favorite meri blouse was ripped in two, one piece dangled off the bed and the other on the plastic chair in the far corner.
They had come in late after a night out at his favorite drinking place Lizard Lounge. She prayed the noise wouldn’t wake the kids or the neighbors but knew that due to the thin walls it was like telling the sun not to rise the next day.
Was it really 10 years ago that they had moved into this unit? It was built on to another house. The two rooms were tiny compared to the kitchen slash living room, every door and window was a different size and the concrete floor rose and fell haphazardly throughout the unit. They shared the shower and toilet with the main house.
They first met one week after she began working at Papindo, Papua New Guinea’s biggest retail chain.
She had not made it into Grade 9 and he looked so handsome in cut jeans and a t-shirt. He was studying accounting at the University of Papua New Guinea.
Just two months after they first met he blurted out that he loved her and wanted to marry her. This was the cheapest place they could find. He reassured her between kisses that it was just until he had finished university and started working.
At K100 per fortnight it was the only place she could afford on her wages. Of course she got pregnant almost immediately, first came Ruth then Tony. After Tony she secretly went on the pill.
She was surprised he remembered their anniversary especially since he had left one morning two years ago for work and never came back.
He looked plump, his clothes looked new and smelt nice. He wore an expensive watch but then again image was everything, right! After all he was with a big accounting firm in downtown Port Moresby.
He came into the room and grabbed a towel. She quickly closed her eyes so he would think she was still sleeping. He had left his favorite toy on the old filing cabinet that served as a clothes’ cupboard. He grinned as he walked past it to go up to the main house and have a shower.
She got up and touched it. Yes… she decided when he came back they would play another game. He had kept her up all night playing games so surely they could play another.
He strode in, still whistling and opened his drawer; he, of course was the only family member with a proper drawer for his clothes’. They had to be folded in a special way.
“Karennnn,” he roared when he saw them all messed up. Then he froze when he heard the click and felt the cold metal against his head.
She put a finger to her lips and ‘shhhhed’ him as he looked turned and gawked at her. It hurt to hold the gun steady.
“You know the rules baby; no screaming until I say so,” Karen whispered.
She knew his roar had sent their children into hiding.
The surprised look quickly disappeared before he roared again, foul words tumbled out of his mouth as he lurched forward. She grinned as she looked at him. He hesitated and stepped backward.
“What’s wrong honey,” she purred not bothering to stop the smile spreading across her face.
“Isn’t this why you came back so we could play?” she asked arching an eyebrow.
Oh he looked so vulnerable.
“Baby…I love you. I’m sorry I know last night I got a bit rough but you should have given me the money when I told you too,” he said, tears slowly sliding down his chocolate skin. He always had perfect skin.
“I know….,” she whispered.
The sound was deafening. She had never heard the gun fired before.
She sat on the floor watching him when the front door squeaked open.
“Karen… the police are here,” the mother from the main house screeched. Karen had heard the heavy slap of her feet followed by unfamiliar footsteps.
The bedroom door crashed open. She heard someone gasp behind her and ever so slowly turned to look at them.
“Oh Karen,” the neighbor groaned almost inaudibly before reaching for the towel he had dropped on the floor. She stopped when she realized it was soaked with blood.
The policeman stepped back and stared at her for what seemed like ages before yelling out to his colleague to call for an ambulance.
“It’s okay I’m fine” she mumbled as the neighbor carefully put a meriblouse on her that she had found somewhere. It looked like a tent but felt like it was made from barbed wire when it brushed against her skin.
As Karen walked to the ambulance she heard her daughter screaming. She smiled and looked around to see if she could see her so as to reassure her. The neighbor kept shoving people aside making sure they did not touch her.
Another cop held the ambulance door open in his sunglasses she saw her reflection. The huge meriblouse didn’t hide much. Was that an M, she saw carved into her skin between her breasts? M for Mathew. Just another one to add to all the others he had carved on her throughout their time together including the slashes and cigarette burns.
They didn’t hurt as much as they normally did. Besides she knew he was careful to never touch the bits that were usually exposed like her lower arms, legs, neck and face. The rest she could cover like she always did.
Sitting in the ambulance she looked out. The sun seemed brighter. The sky so blue so why was her daughter crying and her son looking so serious? Today was a good day. Yes, it was a glorious new day!
note: A meriblouse is a traditional blouse.
I wrote this short story after meeting two women. One was an woman inmate who had killed her husband. She told me she did it to escape from his abuse. Another a women who bears the physical scars of an violent abusive relationship and was made to play games similar to the one in the story.
It’s not a poem. Still got writer’s block. Praying it will go away soon.
WHO TO BLAME
Who to pick,
Who to blame,
Who to burn,
Who to maim,
Quick pick a witch
Who to pay for the source of all our pain
Absolutely heartbreaking and sadly all to common. My heart goes out the women’s family.
Type in Papua New Guinea on twitter for more articles. The UN and US embassy in Port Moresby have condemed it.
Th article below is taken from the New York times website, they even have a photo.
Villagers turned on the young mother, 20, after relatives of a 6-year-old boy who died last week accused her of sorcery
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — A mob stripped, tortured and bound a woman accused of witchcraft, then burned her alive in front of hundreds of horrified witnesses in a Papua New Guinea town…
Forgive me my friends but my words seem to have left me. Please bear with me. I will be posting some of my old poems I dug up.
I will remember you
I will remember you,
no photos or keepsakes,
But I will remember you make no mistake,
How can I forget,
When my heart has carved,
an image of your face,
When my nose picks up your scent,
When my heart reaches for you,
and is left wanting,
when it feels emptiness in your place,
When my ears long for your whisper,
I will remember you,
way down in the ground
past the bedrock
waiting to be found
Cursed from birth
parted of the damned
destined to walk no mans land
to those who can,
but never will
to pick my fate,
come what may,
the price I pay,
to show my essence,
THE TRUE WAY,
I do not shirk,
what was given me,
for the right,
TO STAND BESIDE MY BROTHERS AND
HAVE A SAY
Can you see me, I am here next to your sister, with my sister, around me my nieces play. WE MATTER TOO!!!
quaver but keep on,
be my walking stick,
my guiding light,
trip but keep on,
Up or down,
I sit here under my mosquito net typing this post while all around me, my family sleep.
I wish sleep would come. I wish my heart stopped aching. I wish for many things.
A month ago a young family member came for my help. She came with a story of an older family member sexually harassing her.
She is thirteen. He is in his late 30′s. They live in the same house despite most of my family insisting we solved it in-house I pushed for it to be reported to the police.
So we went down and reported the matter. She came down and went through the interviewing etc. They told us to move her so we did. They told us they would come and arrest him so we waited and waited.
We went down again only to find out the first complaint was never filed. We had to file another one.
During that time he threatened her with a knife and stalked her.
As time went we realised she needs a lot of help. Help, we are not able to give. We went to Social Welfare only to be told time and time again they were in meetings.
Every night he circled the home we moved her too. He brings her gifts; treats; and cash. He sees nothing wrong in what he is doing.
Three days ago it reached boiling point and we went back down to the police station. They told us TO DEAL WITH HIM OURSELVES and bring down to the police station ourselves because they had no fuel to come up and find him.
It seems that because no actual penetration happened it’s not a serious case even though he did attempt to force her to service him orally.
He is on the run now after another family member exploded and punched him when he said he was in ‘a relationship’ with the child.
So now he is out there..a Mary Jane addict who has threatened to kill this child and no real help for the child insight.
So where do we go? How do we help this child? HOW MANY CHILDREN REACHED OUT FOR HELP BUT NEVER GOT IT? So many questions…so I wrote this to keep on going…I must!!