VIOLENCE ruins lives.
For every high-profile case, more victims die shrouded in silence and countless others endure the daily torture of not knowing when it will happen again.
Far too often, we as neighbours, family, friends and fellow Papua New Guineas fail to see it.
Even worse, we turn a blind eye.
It is time to shine a light, especially on domestic violence.
Domestic violence can include any form of psychological, emotional, verbal, physical and sexual abuse.
The prevention of domestic violence, first and foremost, requires challenging cultural and social norms that tolerate or excuse violence, especially against women.
Unfortunately, any discussion on violence against women/men that questions rather than reinforces those cultural and social norms about gender is still frowned at. One of the most enduring myths is that women living with abusive and violent partners should be blamed for the violence because they failed to leave the relationship.
This position promotes “victim blaming”, which does not look at domestic violence from the ecological dimension.
The victim blaming argue that women were killed or maimed in the context of intimate partner violence because they did not take the necessary action to protect themselves: by not reporting the violence, not filing charges or not leaving the relationship.
By placing domestic violence atop the national agenda, we can expose and erase the dark underside of home life, while helping victims find the warmth and optimism they deserve.
We need to make people more familiar with this problem and providing knowledge about options available to victims and their loved ones are key goals of this annual observance.
Remaining silent about domestic violence is not an acceptable response.
To eliminate domestic violence and live in a society protective of human dignity requires political will on the part of the society and recognition of the humanity of everyone by all.
Addressing domestic violence requires a coordinated community response that includes healthcare facilities, law enforcement agencies, nonprofit organisations, schools that serve victims’ children and effective public policy.
Again, policies and legislation have been passed by the various governments but these laws and policies have no teeth because perpetrators are not even caught and prosecuted.
Many perpetrators are still out there.
Let us rise against this evil and join the fight.
We cannot sit back and let it destroy this nation.
It is not the end of a struggle, but the escalation of it.
It is the time to enact change.
Now is the time to harness the power of everyone’s activism to make a change for a better Papua New Guinea.
This is when those affected by violence will know it is okay to ask for or offer help.
Sadly though, the much talked about help is there on paper but the actual implementation is not there and one of that is the referral pathways.
Meetings after meetings, proposals after proposals and still nothing.
If there is one, either there is no financial support or the will to drive it is missing.
No violence is tolerable.
If you know someone who is being frightened or intimidated by the behaviour of someone else, it is not ok.
Violence is not just physical.
It is also emotional or verbal behaviour used to control someone through fear.
You should not expect others to do it for you.
You stand up now and do your bit.
Papua New Guineans, it is time for everyone to stand up together.
VIOLENCE ruins lives.