AMELIA FREELANDER | Amnesty International Australia
I RECENTLY RETURNED from a trip to Papua New Guinea, and I'm still reeling from what I saw there.
Women and girls who had been attacked in the most violent and horrifying ways -- burned with hot metal, raped and beaten, limbs chopped off, and worse.
I'm not talking about a couple of cherry-picked cases here, the violence is systemic and most women in PNG have been at the receiving end.
But we have the chance to help create real, lasting change in PNG so women and girls can finally enjoy the safety they deserve.
It's hard to believe, but some of the worst violence is committed against those accused of witchcraft. Sorcery-related killings are still a horrifying reality for women and girls in this part of the world.
Earlier this year Helen Rumbali, a women's rights advocate and former school teacher, was beheaded in front of her community after three days of unspeakable torture.
In the aftermath of Helen's brutal death, Amnesty supporters took action - and we've seen some positive developments: PNG's controversial Sorcery Act (which saw those accused of murdering a "witch" receive lighter sentences) has been repealed, and many lives have been saved.
But we need long-term, systemic change. I don't want to see one more woman suffer like this. There should be no more cases like Helen.
With our partners in PNG, we (Amnesty International) have a plan to stop this violence now and forever. We've done the research, we've established our networks on the ground, we know where and when to apply pressure -- we just need the funds to make it happen.
Since returning from PNG, I've been reflecting on how lucky I am here in Australia. I live free from the fear of violence. Our police force is well-equipped to enforce the laws that protect me from harm. My gender is not an excuse for daily injustice.
I'm committed to fighting until all the women and girls that I met can enjoy these same basic rights