Torture, burning of women reaching crisis proportions: Governor

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Violence against women, including the primitive and barbaric torture and burning of women on suspicion of being sanguma, (doing witchcraft) is  reaching crisis proportions in the country, National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop says.
He said this after yesterday’s walk against violence in Port Moresby which was attended by Police Minister Jelta Wong, Youth Religion and Community Development Minister Soroi Eoe and his department Secretary Anna Solomon, PNG Defence Force commander Brig-Gen Gilbert Toropo and hundreds of people from all walks of life.
The walk started at 5am at Murray Barracks and ended at 7am at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
“The important thing to note is that gender-based violence and violence generally is already in emergency category,” Parkop told The National.
“We don’t recognise or acknowledge it because we have come to accept it as normal.
“We excuse it or we deny it.
“Some even justify it as being just a Papua New Guinea way.
“We only acknowledge it or come out when a horrific incident happens, such as a girl being burned in Jiwaka or Mt Hagen, a 19-year-old girl having her legs amputated on suspicion of sorcery, or burning women alive.
“Everyone comes out, expresses their horror and so on and just gets back to our normal lives.” Parkop, a lawyer, urged everyone to start breaking their silence, indifferences, denials, apologies and cover-ups for the ongoing violence against women.
“The greatest threat to women and girls, and everyone generally, is not so much from the perpetrators but from all of us,” he said.
“Our apathy, our indifferences, our silence, our weakness and our failure to take action is our greatest threat. The perpetrators are getting away with it and getting bolder.
“It’s also retarding them, dehumanising men to the extent that they think that it’s normal to burn women on a fire at a stake or torture them, as if it was a barbeque.
‘Our value system is low, and unless we deal with this epidemic, all the efforts that we are putting in other sectors in the economy, infrastructure and service delivery will come to nothing.”
Parkop was pleased with the turnout despite the very short notice of a few days.
“I’m pleased with the turnout because the whole idea was to make a statement by numbers,” he said. “We can’t change the dynamics by just one walk or one rally, but if we have more people congregating and standing up to say no to gender-based violence, we can start to shift people behaviour and attitude.”
Parkop said he was now working towards Dec 10 when he expected more people to participate in a similar walk.

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