A new report reveals that women in Papua New Guinea (PNG) face severe gender-based violence, affecting two thirds of families.

"Papa New Guinea Map" via Shutterstock

“Papa New Guinea Map” via Shutterstock

The study, by Australian organization ChildFund, was based on interviews [PDF] with 37 women and 14 men in four different villages. In the interviews, women reported being attacked with knives, axes, and whips. One woman was beaten by her husband using the body of their unconscious one-year old child.

Another woman, Helen, had her lower lip bitten off in a random attack by a stranger near her home in the capital city. She told interviewers [PDF] “Sometimes when I sleep, I dream he will come to me and I am really scared about it. I think he is coming back again.”

None of the women interviewed told ChildFund that their husband had not beaten them.

Nigel Spence, CEO of ChildFund, told reporters “It is appalling the level of inaction, taken against these instances of violence, and despite recent statements by the Prime Minister, which are very welcome, there’s a huge amount to be done for government to improve its effort, to take this issue seriously.”

According to AFP, life expectancy for women in Papua New Guinea is 65 years, and the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reports that 70% of PNG women will be raped or experience violence in their lifetime. The country is ranked 134 out of 148 countries in the UNDP Gender Inequality Index.

Media Resources: Agence France-Presse 8/13/2013; Australian Network News 8/13/2013; ChildFund August 2013

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