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28 August 2014


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Thank you Bernard Yegiora. We do agree on an important point.

Yes, the family is important. So good men do need to stand up now and say it is wrong to bring children up in a violent family environment.

It is wrong to beat up the mother. It is wrong and it must be stopped. The first, but admittedly not the only solution, was to separate the act of domestic violence from common assault under the Summary Offences Act and Criminal Code by bringing about the passage of the Family Protection Act.

Coalition For Change, an NGO I lead, did that as part of the solution. The Law Reform Commission 1992 Final Report recommended reforms to the law to protect victims or rather survivors of DV.

This report sat around for a couple of decades and an NGO has made it happen. So instead of criticising the initiatives by others we can all contribute by advocating against domestic violence and now.

You asked what my solution is? I am a lawyer, and the Family Protection Act is a tiny effort to give effect to change.

As to changing the minds of the community, we are providing awareness of the alternative ways to grow a healthy and happy family based on this law, which is not altogether punitive.

It is an act that brings to bear the protection of one's right promised under our national constitution.

Winifred Kamit I understand your frustration, but emotions aside, my point is it will take time.

We are talking about years of cultural indoctrination. What is your solution to change the hearts and minds of people?

The generational approach is each and every educated person should start at home educating their children. The family unit is a key socialisation agent.

The use of NRL players and all those fancy advertisements are not changing anything. We need to do more research and find a PNG-flavoured way forward.

..I continue to be amazed at responses to this national issue ( not a women ' s issue ) like that from Ben Yegiora. I have heard it all before . " is cultural ,...this is png ,...the law enforcers can be excused for not performing their duties, is generational , that is , leave it to the next person , it is not my problem , etc etc " The very popular words of a song sung by many passers -by . Perfect excuses not to do anything, to remain silent and to stand by , watch , walk away and thereby perpetuate the heinous treatment of another human being.
There is no justification for domestic violence or any other form of violence against women.

By the way , the Family Protection Act is gender neutral , that is , a husband is also entitled to seek protection under it's provisions.

Violence against women has deep cultural roots. Let us say a Kukurai on Manam badly beats his wife, do you think the community or law enforcement agents will do anything? Similar to the case of a big man or paramount chief. The Family Protection Act is there but law enforcement agents are influenced by cultural norms. They are not foreigners they (law enforcement agents)understand the cultural dynamics of the issue thus compromising professionalism. It is not a quick fix problem, the law and any non-governmental organization will struggle, it will take another generation.

May I intrude a little into what should rightly be the province of PNG commentators and writers?

I speak as a Christian of many years.

It is somewhat of a double edged sword that PNG is afflicted by both secular stereotyping of women as lesser beings, and religous stereotyping of those unfortunate beings.

On the one hand, secularity has its long formed cultural mandates that characterise females and their place in society.

On the other hand, Biblical and Christian principles that should rescue womanhood from uncertain prospects are often mired in the same subtle fog of perception blinding the vision of secularity.

The thread of male dominance that pervades religion all too often falls for the lie of inferiority of the "helpmeet."

A thorough examination of creation, and the Pauline epistles will yield a different picture, if permitted, of the honorable place and practise of womanhood so diametrically opposite the traditional religous paradigm postured by many church institutions.

My challenge here is to provoke an awareness of the deceptions posited by philosophy intended to bring light but instead, deepens the dilemma of those victims of unthinking male brutality.

If it is not possible for a secular or sacred response from the laity, maybe -- those leaders of "Christian" institutions would be emboldened to "man-up" and re-examine their worldviews in order to bring life to what Winifred Kamit wryly implies is a dead issue amid PNG's couch potato community.

I am not surprised at all that George Kuias and Robin Lillicrapp have not stirred any immediate response from anyone else on this subject.

A small PNG organization called Coalition For Change, which is responsible for the Family Protection Act, recently passed by Parliament to criminalize domestic violence, has for over four years tried to get men, PNG men, to stand up and be ambassadors for the White Ribbon campaign.

Sadly, it is still trying with little success.

Are there not any more real men of PNG who will stand up and speak out against domestic violence?

Domestic violence and all other gender generated violence is not only damaging to the women who are horrendously abused but it has the ripple effect of impacting adversely on family members, community, businesses and ultimately the nation.

It is a national disgrace and we who stand by and let it happen are just as much the perpetrators of violence against women.

Wake up PNG !

It would be a signal to society especially if good men were among the first to record their thoughts.

A tragic but all too familiar story.

Perhaps the covey of writers within the PNG Attitude family could compose a mini volume of comment and inspiration as a record of concern for the National Estate: the importance and protection of the family.

Ting ting, tasol

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