Make PNG safe for women, girls


WE write this editorial as women who are daughters, sisters, mothers and wives.
We are surrounded in this newsroom by amazing women.
We believe you too are surrounded by phenomenal women.
The statistics from the United Nations report ranking Papua New Guinea second from the bottom among 162 countries in the world with regards to the safety and treatment of women and children is disturbing.
PNG was ranked 161.
This ranking means PNG is rated as a country “unsafe for women and children”.
One does not have to look far to see the actuality of this ranking.
Every time a woman in the city or town moves out of the comfort of their home/office, their heads are tilted to see who is walking up beside or behind and for some, the grip tightens on their bag or purse, pressing it towards their body.
Why should females always look over their shoulders and scan the area they are in to give themselves some comfort or peace?
Even a female driver has to be on alert when on the road.
Most times, those who take joy in disturbing, especially women, get away, but the few who get caught have always paid the price for their actions.
We have read media reports of women dying during childbirth in rural areas because of the lack of medical support and the list goes on.
The struggles of women in rural areas is beyond measure.
One can only imagine what they endure to put food out for their families or so their children can go to school.
Many will say we have women rising up the ranks in the corporate world and in the public service, but gender equality is far from achieved.
We still face unconscionable levels of discrimination and violence against women.
The stark reality is that women are a vulnerable group.
Violence against women is a crime.
Yet, it is a universal global phenomenon.
While there are varying degrees of abuse that women suffer in their homes and the workplace, it goes without saying that women find themselves threatened in every corner of the world.
The barbaric assault defies all boundaries of humanity.
Besides these, there are many faceless and nameless women who face violence daily in their homes and societies.
Some speak up, but most bury their voice for fear of a backlash.
Like the lyrics to Mary J Blige song Strength of a Woman – “We’re the trees left standing through the storms of life. We’ve come so high and we’ve come so far. Can’t hold us back. Strength of a woman.”
Women are the backbone of the family and the foundation of a nation. They bring life into the world.
They sense the cries of an infant. Their instincts are to care for the old, the sick and those in need.
Remember, small actions can have big impacts in making this vision a reality.
Just as we’ve often asked in previous editorials; what has become of our country that violence now seems to be the first resort for so many people when they have an argument or when they become angry?
Why are we not showing respect to each other – respect to our families, to our communities and to our country’s laws?
Everyone comes from a family.
All perpetrators have female relatives, including a mother, so one would wonder if they ever think what if the same was done to their own.