Take on PNG Man-Up pledge

Editorial

THE call for men to accept gender-based violence as their issue as a father, husband and son should be supported by everyone.
Far too often, the fight against gender-based violence has been driven by women with men supporting at the back.
Solomon Kantha, founder of PNG Man-up team, with like-minded men have taken on that fight to stand together and take action to protect our women and girls.
They have taken up the ‘Man Up Pledge’ along with leaders on the night of the vigil on July 2.
Many more have taken on the pledge through their respective employment organisations.
All men who have taken the pledge should be commended for being an agent of change for PNG.
Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights.
Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death.
It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society.
Violence not only has negative consequences for women but also their families, the community and the country at large.
It has tremendous costs, from greater health care and legal expenses and losses in productivity, impacting national budgets and overall development.
Decades of mobilising by civil society and women’s movements have put ending gender-based violence high on national and international agendas.
An unprecedented number of countries have laws against domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence.
Challenges remain however in implementing these laws, limiting women and girls’ access to safety and justice.
Not enough is done to prevent violence, and when it does occur, it often goes unpunished.
The murder of 19-year-old mother-of-two, Jenelyn Kennedy, at the hands of her partner highlighted loopholes in the country’s laws to protecting women.
This newspaper on June 28 published a front page photograph of Jenelyn’s battered body to highlight the loopholes.
The country went up in arms and that saw the birth of PNG Man Up – calling for justice not only for Jenelyn but all victims of gender-based violence around the country.
The PNG Man-Up initiative was a call to action for all men in PNG who shared the same concern on GBV and that it was important to focus on one particular case – late Jenelyn.
Over the years there has not been one successful case that was given the harshest penalty in sending a strong message to perpetrators around the country.
We concur with Kantha, a number of groups have presented petitions to change laws on GBV, which now collect dust.
Justice should begin from investigations until judgment is given in court.
And it is heartwarming to know men in PNG have acknowledged the growing issue and embraced unity to call for action on GBV.
Kantha is calling on all men step up and acknowledge the fact that GBV is becoming an issue that cannot be tolerated.
The PNG Man-up team should be commended that this was the first time men have come out to show their support and the intention for the call to action was not a one off event but the start of more to follow.
A seed has been planted.
Let us all nurture it and let it blossom.

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