Academic tells of gang-rape odeal

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 26th April 2013

 AN American woman says she was gang-raped by an armed mob on Karkar Island, Madang, last Friday and wanted to speak out on her ordeal to raise awareness about rampant violence against women in Papua New Guinea.

The white academic said that she was attacked while conducting research on birds and the impact of climate change in a remote forest on the island.

Police in the Port Moresby last Sunday confirmed the attack.

“We have taken statements but no arrests have been made yet,” a spokesman told AFP. 

“This is a very serious incident.”

Brutality against women including domestic violence is endemic in PNG and the academic said she wanted to tell her story to shine a light on the issue.

“This story should not come out because I am white,” said the woman, who was on her fifth visit to the country since 2010, often staying for up to four months to conduct research.

“It should come out in hopes that it empowers Papua New Guinean women to stand up and say no more violence against women in this country.

“I hope my story can make a change.”

The 32-year-old said she was walking along a bush track with her husband and a guide when nine men armed with rifles and knives ambushed them, stripping the husband and guide naked and tying them up.

They then stripped her, bound her hands, cut off her long plaited hair and gang-raped her for about 20 minutes. Something in the forest startled them and they ran away.

The matter was reported to the US embassy as well.