Advocate suggests ‘soft’ ways more effective

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Gender-based violence can be effectively addressed by involving the people responsible in advocacy campaigns, says Walter Oruda, a community-based volunteer.
He has been advocating against violence for 15 years among young people in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.
He was among more than 800 people in Goroka town who took part in a march on Dec 1 to spread the message that gender-based violence at home and at work was not acceptable. The event was organised by the church partnership programme supported by Australia.
Motivated by his own childhood experience of growing up in a violent environment, he promised to campaign against violence in homes and communities.
To him the “soft” approach of talking to perpetrators of domestic violence is a more effective solution than the use of the law as a first step.
He said on many occasions, support and sympathy were focused on the victims. The perpetrator is ignored and handed over to the police.
“We think that when the police are involved, it solves the problem between the couple. But in most cases this only adds to the problem, because the perpetrator will be angry and, when he returns home, the violence will continue,” he said.
“We must talk to them and listen to them. Even the involvement of police must be made clear to them that the law is here to assist and not to harm them,” he said.

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