International volunteering organisation VSO have made a video highlighting the high levels of domestic violence in Papua New Guinea and what's being done to change this
VSO have released a video highlighting the high levels of domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. It tells the story of local woman Alyce, 32, who finally found the strength to leave her alcoholic, womanising husband after 12 years of abuse.
In it, she says, ‘I lived in a very unhappy home – it brings tears to my eyes. I lost everything, including my pride and confidence.’
At least 67% of women in Papua New Guinea are beaten by their husbands. For a country not at war, it has one of the highest rates of violence in the world.
According to UNICEF, 55% of the women have been raped, while nearly half of the victims who report rape are under the age of 15. Over half (60%) of men there have participated in gang rape at least once.
Despite these shocking statistics, domestic violence was only made a criminal offence in September 2013.
With the help of VSO, Alyce (pictured) has been able to move on with her life. They offer victims essential services such as medical first aid, emergency contraception and medicine to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, as well as psychological first aid.
Psychiatric Nurse and VSO Volunteer Catherine Bedford, 42, says ‘We’re not just seeing bruises, black eyes or burst lips. I’ve seen lots of injuries through stones, pieces of wood and bush knives. We’re seeing hands chopped off, axes in the back of people’s heads and shocking internal injuries. We see lots of young women who have been gang-raped – it’s used as gang initiation. I also get a lot of under-five sexual assaults.
‘Gender inequality is huge here and men are in control of everything.’