The National, Tuesday 14th May 2013
AFTER a “silent hell” of putting up with all the violence reported in the media or witnessed firsthand, today is the day that this nation must stand up together and say ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’.
Today is the start of the two-day national haus krai where all Papua New Guineans have been asked to stop and mourn the death of our women and girls whose lives have been taken away by violent crimes.
Let us all join this cause and not be spectators because it is apathy that is feeding this violent behaviour.
One might say this cause does not concern one but remember this: Every person reading this was given birth to by a woman.
If it is not for your mum, your wife, your daughters, your sisters then, maybe, join the cause for your grandchild who could suffer the consequences of your inaction.
Do not wait for it to happen to someone close to you before you decide to do something about it.
Let us all stand united to denounce all forms of gender-based violence during the two days of the haus krai.
Event coordinator Esther Igo says support has been overwhelming and momentum has been growing, thanks to support from around the country.
It has even gone global with 11 countries confirming they too will observe the day.
The National Council of Women has voiced its support of the national haus krai.
The PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also called on all businesses throughout the country to get behind it to bring attention to the most serious issue facing PNG.
President John Leahy says: “Violence is probably the most significant issue affecting the quality of life for Papua New Guineans of both genders, but it is particularly galling when directed to those most vulnerable, in particular children and the many, many adults who are not themselves prepared to resort to violence.”
The chamber sees this as a national issue requiring a comprehensive approach and they note some steps by the Government in the right direction.
All that is being asked for is that the Government, the churches and the people of this nation unite and end the culture of violence.
The event starts at 5pm today and goes on until tomorrow.
The colour to wear to mark this event is red and black.
There will be a prayer vigil by representatives of the different churches lined as well as a dawn service tomorrow at 6am, a music concert and a tribute to all innocent lives taken by violence.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to meet the group at the Sir John Guise Stadium and receive a petition tomorrow.
Gender-based violence has become entrenched in our society with no tough penalties taken against the perpetrators.
The government has promised tougher laws will be passed today when Parliament begins its new session.
We would like to see the Sorcery Act repealed for a start.
We would like to see steps taken to educate people that violence in any form is unacceptable.
We want our MPs to show the political will to put in place measures that will be effective in reinforcing law and order.
In our society, we value the dead as much as the living.
It has been our custom and tradition to come together as one big family whenever there is a death – irregardless of gender, religious believes or social status.
Sadly, we will not be mourning the death of one person; we will be mourning the deaths of many, many men, women and children who have lost their lives as a result of violent crimes.