Advocate talks about sexual violence

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Breaking the silence by speaking out to others about rape and sexual violence helps survivors to heal mentally and be able to regain normal live in the community, a women’s advocate says.
Claire McFarlane, an Australian campaigner on ending violence against women, is in the country to share her story as a survivor of rape, to raise awareness on violence against women and help raise funds for healing programmes for victims.
She said one part of her campaign was to share her story and her struggles as a victim of rape and to help people break the silence and to have healing in their lives to go back to their community.
“When you are raped, you are ripped apart in all the areas and you need to heal in all the areas, emotional, mental and physical healing,” she said.
McFarlane said during a reception in Port Moresby yesterday that she started the Beach Run Awareness programme in South Africa and aimed to run 16km in each of 184 countries.
McFarlane said she ran in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and now PNG which she did last Saturday with about 200 people. Some ran with her while some cheered her on along Ela Beach in Port Moresby.
“I have learnt so much – one of the beautiful things is to share stories with men and women in this country and to tell them that you are not alone,” McFarlane said.
I can say there are men and women everywhere in the world who are going through the same experience.
“Sexual violence affects everyone and one way to deal with the trauma is to talk openly about it to others,” McFarlane said.
She said sports played an important part in bringing people together and could be a platform for campaigns on the issue of rape and sexual violence.

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