The National, Friday 03rd August 2012
MEDICAL humanitarian agency Medecins Sans Frontieres has called for better keeping of data on domestic and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea, as research shows extremely high levels of domestic abuse in the country.
MSF said specific data-keeping would help address the problem in PNG, which had one of the highest rates of violence against women in the Pacific.
It said about two thirds of PNG women had been abused by their partners.
It said 60% of PNG men had reported taking part in “lainap” (gang rape) at least once.
MSF project coordinator and midwife, Ruth Kaufman told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific programme that, like women who suffered abuse in other parts of the world, “abused women in PNG often don’t know the best ways to seek help”.
“They’ll try to go through the criminal justice system, they’ll try to get help in a health centre and yes, the injuries may be taken care of but the broader aspects of the psychological care, the social care and the legal support for them and their children is difficult to obtain.”
Kaufman said the World Health Organisation had done similar studies into domestic violence in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati, with similar levels of abuse.
“Poor organisation of medical records in PNG may contribute to the lack of awareness about the problem.
“In Papua New Guinea, they keep good records of medical care, but they include any kind of violence-related injuries as one topic included under accidents.
“In the data you would see someone who was injured from a car accident, someone injured from tribal violence and then someone injured from sexual violence all coming under the same category,” Kaufman said.
MSF said in PNG:
n 70% of women experienced domestic violence;
n 67% of wives had been beaten by their husbands;
n 60% of men reported taking part in gang rape at least once;
n 55% of women had been forced into sex against their will, and;
n women were six times more likely to be accused of sorcery than men. – ABC Online