VIOLENCE against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
In general terms, it shows itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:
- INTIMATE partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
- SEXUAL violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
- HUMAN trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
- FEMALE genital mutilation; and,
- CHILD marriage.
While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.
Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfilment of women and girls’ human rights.
As the world retreated inside homes due to the lockdown measures introduced to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, reports showed an alarming increase in the already existing pandemic of violence against women.
This week, we have the gender-based violence summit in Port Moresby to highlight the importance of ending gender-based violence and violence of all forms in the country in terms of sharing practical, technical, policy information and knowledge to foster a way forward in addressing the issue.
Enough is enough.
Let us all join this cause and not be spectators because our ignorance is feeding this behaviour and attitude.
One might say this cause does not concern me but remember every person reading this is born from a mother who is a woman.
If it is not for your mum, your wife, your daughters, your sisters then maybe join the cause for your grandchild who could become a victim of violence later in life.
Do not wait for it to happen to someone close to you before you decide to do something about it.
The march in July was a demonstration to mourn not only the passing of Jenelyn Kennedy but women, mothers, sisters, aunt, daughters and grandmothers who have been killed in brutal attacks, rapes and sorcery- and witchcraft related accusations.
This symbolic act of solidarity was meant to call upon the Government and the nation to take serious action to address these issues. Here in PNG, there should zero tolerance in our nation for violence against women.
What a perfect timing for the summit to increase public awareness leading up to the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence later this month.
Let us all stand united to denounce all forms of gender-based violence.
It is time for a united voice from the Government, churches and the people to end violence in PNG.
Gender-based violence has become entranced in the society with no tough penalties taken against perpetrators.
Now is the time to enact change.
Now is the time to harness the power of your activism to make a change for a better nation.
This as a national issue requiring a comprehensive approach and they note some steps by the Government in the right direction.