Community ‘ready’ to fight GBV


The international community stands ready to assist in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV).
Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker said the international community was ready to assist.
“The international community stands ready to assist in fighting against this violence but the fight has to start within the community,” Barker said.
He said the problem was deep within certain communities in the country and it must be addressed by those communities and Government.
Barker said there must be effective local early warning systems, actively intervening, prioritising and working with church, civil society and community leaders.
He said the increase in GBV and SARV stemmed from a lack of leadership at all levels to address this tragic situation.
“That is not only cruelly victimising elderly women, who should be loved and protected by their families and the community after a life of struggle, but also sometimes terrorising younger people and the dependents of the victims, who may also be orphaned,” Barker said.
“It also seems to result from some breakdown in traditional community control over groups of young men, who defy authority, and are eager to gain status from haranguing and even torturing socially-weak, usually elderly women, sometimes even with support from some family members, or fear by community members to intervene.”
Barker said from available evidence, there seemed to have been a serious escalation in the level and extent of violence associated with sorcery-accusations around the country, particularly spreading from certain districts where it was long prevalent to other provinces and cities, including Port Moresby.
“It seems to be associated both with fear and superstition, deficient and sometimes declining basic Government systems, including poor education and awareness, weak law and justice services, inadequate health services, resulting in unnecessary deaths and inadequate explanations of causes of illness and death.”