May 15th WE STAND


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I have watched people I love change from happy confident to withdrawn mice.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.

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Article from ABC Australian news network
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-14/an-png-holds-national-day-of-mourning/4687876?section=australianetworknews

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

First posted
Updated 1 hour 10 minutes ago

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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.
Presenter:Brian Abbott
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

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Maiya

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