Worry over daughter in abusive relationship


I AM writing to express deep fear for my younger daughter who lives in Port Moresby with her baby son and is being abused and bullied by a drunken boy and his parents from whom she has run away in fear.
There has been several young women murdered by drunken husbands. I do not want Lisa to die at the hands of this boy.
She is 20 years old and was never mistreated as a child. She wants to stay in Port Moresby to support her elder sister who is a widow with two sons.
She was living with me in Lae and attending Busu High School where she completed grade 10.
She went to visit her sister who had just become a widow and came back to Lae pregnant after meeting a former boyfriend in Port Moresby.
The boy refused to make any contact and hung up the phone if I answered his calls. He thought that making her pregnant was his business.
Lisa gave birth in Lae. Me, her aunties and cousins were at the hospital for her that day. I, as Lisa’s father, paid all the bills for the next 15 months.
There was never a word from the boy in Port Moresby and he has not given any money to help support Lisa and the baby.
When the little boy was 14 months old, Lisa took him to Port Moresby during Christmas to visit her sister.
The so-called father is about 23 years old and unemployed. He lives with his parents who also have no income.
The parents arrived at my elder daughter’s apartment and claimed that the child had to be handed over to them because they had custody rights.
No bride price had ever been paid, a custom in this country if a father of a child wished to share custody of that child.
The parents do not want their son to marry my daughter. They just want to take the boy.
The family has no claim on Lisa or the baby. She was certainly not a wife to this unemployed youth. She does not want to live with him but has been forced to do so because they took the baby.
This so-called father was not on the birth certificate. Lisa was unwilling to put him on the birth certificate just as she did not want sex with him.
She wanted an abortion as soon as she came back to Lae but I promised to look after her and the baby. She gave birth to a beautiful baby.
The family arrived at the apartment in December and took the baby. Lisa had no choice but to follow them. She worked hard at the house and was treated by the boy’s mother as the housegirl.
They claimed total authority over the little boy. Lisa was most unhappy not to be given money to look after the baby.
She started to ask her father in Lae for maintenance money. This was bride price in reverse.
Two weeks ago, she started to earn money by marketing on a table in the street outside the house. She obtained K250 from her father and sister to buy lollies, drinks and food.
But it all came to an end when the boy’s drunken father arrived and started an argument about money. He punched Lisa in the face and smashed up the table and goods.
Lisa rushed into the house and grabbed her small son, leaving all the goods and money in the dirt. When the coast was clear, she ran down the road and caught a bus to her sister’s house.
The unemployed mother, father and drunken son demanded the child to be returned or they would have her arrested by the police. They would obtain custody in court, they said. In their dreams.
It was time for the big gun to open fire. I texted them that they had no standing whatever with no bride price or name on the
birth certificate. That is PNG culture.
I hung up the call when she started screeching like a cockatoo. A few minutes later the father phoned and denied all that had happened and called Lisa a liar.
He said they would obtain custody through the court. I said I would be there with my daughter.
Two days ago, the mother texted that they would seek a court order and take custody of the baby. But they have no standing. Will they seek a court order with my daughter and son absent from the proceedings? No bride price!
The parents say they just want the baby without the mother! Will my daughter have the chance to tell the court about domestic violence?
I will come to the court and talk to the magistrate about how my elder daughter and I had to look after Lisa and her son, compared the absence of support from the baby’s father’s unemployed family.
I warned the father to leave the boy with the mother, suggesting that his son provides maintenance money of K150 a fortnight for the upkeep of the boy.
I told him that if the boy is kidnapped, there will be an assault complaint laid on the son for punching my daughter.
He has been supported by his mother who supports his violence to Lisa.
There was a report in The National recently by Rebecca Kuku on violent mother-in-laws.
I asked how the son would be employed in the years to come if he was unable to obtain police clearance because of an assault conviction.
How can an unemployed father, mother and son take custody of a baby when they have no legal or customary standing?
Now I hear that they want to take the baby and kick the mother out. In their wildest dreams.
I fear that they will corruptly seek a court order to take the baby without going to court.
I am proud of the focus by The National on family and healthy living.
The message is becoming widely accepted across the nation.
The reports by Dr Mathias Sapuri are detailed and clear.

Bruce Copeland