Taking a Stance on Violence Against Women
27 November 2010 - By Nellie Stetepano
PORT MORESBY (PNG Post-Courier/Pacific Media Watch): Men and children took a personal stance on the issue to end all forms of violence against women and girls when they joined in the march in the capital of Papua New Guinea yesterday, reports the Post-Courier.
The march from Boroko police station, through Waigani and Sir John Guise Stadium attracted more than 1000 people.
Wesley Paraide and friend Emmanuel Saherngu were among the group of people that marched. Both were told and encouraged by Wesley’s brother to join in the march.
Little did Saherngu know about the march; he read in the news few days in the lead up to the march that there was an international day celebrating Elimination on All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
He got a little bit more educated yesterday when he realised how important it is, not only observing the day but planning to practise it as well.
Eight-year-old Kera Apo and her sister Soti, nine, both from Erave, live in Five Mile. Like all street kids they were out early for the day in search for opportunities when they came across the march.
They managed to get each an oversized white T-shirt and joined the march.
They did not know why there was a swarm of people but heard from the chants “Noken paitim meri, nokem reipim meri”. They both learned one thing today - do not hit women, do not rape women.
Even a group of young street boys shot past chanting “tokim papa noken paitim mama.”
A few kids like little Tiata Ari joined her mother for the march, enjoying every bit of it.
One of the boys in the police band said he wanted more participation of women in such marches, although he expressed a little dissatisfaction in the organisation in which he and his group marched in late, instead of leading the march.
Tau Mea and Banari Mou arrived late into the city on a PMV from Gaire village. They were among the last lot of people to march into the stadium with a single placard "EnditNow: Adventists say no to violence against women".
“Violence disrupts the foundation of a family, a community and the nation as a whole,” Mea said. Both agreed that not only violence against women is the issue here. “It is all form of violence against all humanity.
"Violence against women, men, children and elderly is wrong. We stand in solidarity for all forms of violence and perpetrators of these acts should be dealt with the full force of the law,” Mea continued.
A few women from Kairuku who travelled in to the city to observe the 22 women seat go before Parliament joined in the march.
The Governor-General, who led the march, called on particular men to stop doing “rubbish things” – violence that disrupts society. He called on fathers to start teaching families to stop violence against women. He also launched the white ribbon campaign.
The pressing issues of violence against women compelled the government to ratify CEDAW in 1995 to set up policies, laws and systems to ensure that women are treated fairly.
Internationally recognised and in PNG the march remembers the day. Yesterday was the fourth in four consecutive years.