Why are we so violent?

Editorial

IT is frightening to hear from the House Ruth Crisis Centre, in Port Moresby, that at least 40 women and children a month flee their homes because of sorcery-related violence and incest by stepfathers and uncles involving children as young as nine years.
That’s too many and too frightening.
Those at the centre can see that by the rising flood of women and children seeking their help the cases of incest and sorcery-related accusations and violence have increased so much in the past decade.
Mostly, adults seeking refuge at the centre are aged between 20 and 45 years and they tell the same stories of violence through sexual assaults, jealousy, rape and other forms of domestic violence.
The centre also gets high school teenagers escaping violence at home. More cases go unreported and unknown. Many even die without the authorities knowing.
Even though we have seen cases of the authorities and the courts raising the issues of sexual, domestic and sorcery-related violence, the tide continues to rise and our women and children stay vulnerable to attack and abuse.
What should we do as a nation? It is time to get tougher and ensure the perpetrators are brought before the courts to be prosecuted and, if convicted, are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Everyone has the duty to protect the vulnerable and everyone should hold accountable those who perpetrate violence against women and children, but we have embolden abusive men by our lack of action.
Not too long ago we saw the case of a six-year-old girl being tortured by a lynch mob simply because she was the child of a woman who was falsely accused of sorcery and then killed. To continue to say that sorcery and the way we deal with it is part of our cultural belief system is uncivilised and not Christian.
Yes, it is not easy to deal with it, especially out in the remote villages where there is a lack of exposure to modern thinking, but our leaders should step up to the mark and help educated our people of the evils of their ways.
We have to empower and transform people for attitudes to change. Culture is fluid and can change, but only if we can provide the education and environment that can help people move towards that path.
There is a need for collaboration to ensure all the machinery of the Government, NGOs and society in general are geared towards this goal. Remember that a society that does not protect the vulnerable, children, the aged, the handicapped and the poor is a failed society.
Action has to start with prevention.
Violence against women and girls is a serious violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death.
Violence not only has negative consequences for women but also their families, the community and the country at large.
There are many faceless and nameless women who face violence daily in their home and community. Some speak up, but most bury their voice in fear, for to speak out can have fatal consequences, and survival is a long and complicated journey.
How can we remain silent when we continue to see how violent we have become towards women and children?
Courage alone is not enough. Women and children need to see and feel the support of their families, communities and government to be able to find the confidence to stand up and say, Me Too.

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