The National, Monday 21st November 2011
ADDRESSING gender-based violence and female sexual violence in Papua New Guinea is a mammoth task, Assistant Commissioner of Police (human resources) Francis Tokura says.
He made the remark at the “White Ribbon Day” commemoration at the PNG Ports headquarters in Port Moresby last Friday.
Tokura said the difficult terrain, diverse cultures, poor infrastructure and poor delivery of government services were some of the challenges that were hampering efforts into addressing the two issues.
He said the “wantok system” was fuelling the problem where people looked out for and protected the interests of their fellow clan or tribal members and ignorance on violence against women.
“But, perhaps, the biggest challenge is the traditional PNG culture or thinking,” he said.
“PNG’s diverse culture is predominantly male-dominated and it makes our efforts to address the issues of family and female sexual violence and gender-based violence, difficult to say the least.”
He said the problem could be solved through a collective approach and with the involvement of people in management or leadership positions.
He said for the Royal PNG Constabulary, the problem was addressed at the highest level with the involvement of the office of the commissioner.
“Gender-based violence is endemic in PNG.
“One of the key factors contributing to widespread gender-based violence is the low status of women and girls in PNG’s patriarchal society,” he said.
“Women and girls face structural discrimination in all spheres of life (social, cultural, economic and political), which increases their vulnerability to gender-based violence.
“PNG ranks 133 out of 169 countries in terms of the Gender Inequality Index (GII), which measures indicators relating to women’s education, health, labour force participation, adolescent fertility and parliamentary representation,” he said.
Tokura said polygamy, bride price, sorcery killings and other cultural practices were increasing instances of gender-based violence and female sexual violence.