Set GBV committee


IT was good to read in The National last week of men and women marching to protest against gender-based violence (GBV) following the death of the teen mother who died after being allegedly beaten by her partner.
It is good to see that there is a desire in people to act to stop this sin and crime that is prevalent in many homes.
I say sin because it is immoral too, not just criminal.
Sadly, many of us who support such protests but could not join due to us living out of Port Moresby or other centres where such initiatives are organised.
I suggest that this protest should continue until some real action is taken to address this ongoing issue that has seen unnecessary loss of lives of both genders.
For this protest to go on until action is taken, we must all have some clear-cut goals.
A special committee should be formed to organise events where GBV or any violence for that matter, must continue to be in the conversation of everyone, the educated and semi-educated, rich or poor.
The committee should involve MPs, scholars, pastors, bishops, lawyers, police commanders, judges, community representatives, medical doctors and teachers.
Each person in that committee should believe completely that GBV or any violence used in a relationship or society is wrong.
The committee should spearhead this move to end this violence issue by staging marches or similar public events where the message continues to be raised.
Here are some thoughts on what the committee can do.
It should look at existing laws and see if they do indeed protect the lives of people in the family or society.
Are restraining orders easily accessible?
Are laws describing penalties imposed on crimes of GBV or violence or adultery severe enough or can they be improved?
Do the laws require people in homes to report violence and failure to do so is the same as being part of the crime?
The committee should compare our laws with those of other developed countries to see if we can possibly enact new laws to protect people in our society.
For example, couples who have applied to live in Australia for a long time are informed that any noise or disturbance in their homes can be reported by any neighbour and police officers could be at their doorstep to investigate.
The fact that a man or woman can be arrested for causing a disturbance in their own home in such countries is normal.
The committee should consider ways in which this practice of non-violence should be taught to our people, most of whom grew up in societies where violence is acceptable.
It is a care of rewiring the way people think about violence.
Some of us see it as wrong, whereas others think it is part of life.
That would mean writing up material that can be used in schools, colleges and universities regarding GBV or violence in general.
It could mean going on air in radio or TV stations to get the message across.
The committee should look at the establishments in place to help protect people against violence, such as the police and its family and sexual offence unit.
Are they properly equipped?
Do they have the right people stationed there to address reports of GBV or any violence appropriately? Do they have enough funds to make them functional?
If not, then such issues should be taken up by the police commissioner and Police Minister to Parliament and NEC to ensure that such units are functional, they are well-funded, overseen by capable professionals and appropriately and professionally engaging with victims or members of the committee who report violence.
The committee and everyone concerned with this issue should realise that it is going to be a long walk.
The larger issue is violence and wherever there is violence, we should believe that that must end.
That would mean the use of threat, harassment or violence by police, spouses, tribal warring factions, teenagers who are unsupervised, sportsmen and women in football competitions as well as the pickpockets on the streets in our cities and towns who continue to daily rob women and boys and girls.
The effort will definitely touch those areas of life too.
Violence is violence, whether it is in the home, on the street or rugby field.
The issue in general is violence, not just GBV.
And every MP, educated elite or scholar who is supporting this protest should be aware of this.
It would be time for everyone to reflect on their lives too.
Are we violent at home?
Are we using violence or harassment in our workplaces?
We cannot just talk about GBV and not other forms of violence which may be practised in our homes or workplaces.
That is something that we should all be aware of.
But otherwise, the marches and vigil were a good start.
Keep the fire burning in this desire to end GBV or any violence for that matter.
Keep moving.

All violence is wrong

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