Letter from Papua New Guinea #3

201212-AP_Trip_GorokoWomen1.jpgThe Pacific is a world removed, a forgotten corner of the earth for many, however to me it is a place of such immeasurable beauty, a sing sing culture. In this environment, flying in a small plane across the country is pure joy. As the plane skids to a stop, I can see young and old people who look like colored dots as they swamp the roof of the airport and rattle the cage of the wired gates that keeps them outside. One man pulls out a ukulele and sings a sweet tune while women sell their billum bags on the dusty track leading into the airport. I feel so alive here, as if all my senses are sharpened.

I’ve travelled to Goroka to meet with a group of women in the Eastern Highlands – Julie, Lilly, Marilyn, Barbara, Maria, Monica and Anne – and we have a day to capture the state of the women’s movement in Papua New Guinea. This is also a chance for me to better understand the context and what’s causing the issues women are facing in this country as well as what they think is needed.

We start with an easy one.

The fact that polygamy is rampant in the PNG Highlands and that men, inside and outside of Parliament, don’t seem to see anything wrong with it. “You can have as many wives and mistresses as you please, if you’re a man,” Barbara says. “Men are increasingly leaving their marriages for younger women, or just taking an extra wife – they don’t see an issue with it.“ Nor do they see any issue with chasing and competing for resources and royalties from LNG (liquefied natural gas) – with men being the big winners and women and children losing out. Women are invisible around mining and extractive industries. And land belongs to the men in this country.”

Julie_Soso_Akeke_Eastern_Highlands_Governer and MPAccessing markets is an issue. Getting goods to market in the right condition without refrigeration is impossible. There’s no road connection to PNG and vegetables rot without refrigeration. Julie Soso, the (female) governor of PNG, and the newly elected member to National Parliament, has now conceived a container method to ship market goods to PNG and has bought land to support produce being grown.

Women also need access to training and technological improvement of crops, on land they likely don’t own as land is passed on to the males in the family. Most of women’s work is in the informal sector and this is unpaid, underpaid and often invisible without any form of social protection.

There’s also an increasing number of women with HIV/AIDS which points to the need for comprehensive sex education and HIV/AIDS education in schools starting from ten years old. Cancer levels for women are also increasing for cervical and breast cancer. “In many rural areas, women are very shy about going to check for HIV/AIDS or for cancer,” says Maria. “Some women have died of cervical cancer, which is becoming increasingly common here, or breast cancer, because they didn’t get checked out early.” Very little sex-disaggregated data exists in the Pacific and thus the impact of many issues on women is rendered invisible without the data to demonstrate the deep and recurrent negative impacts on women.

Marijuana and alcohol abuse are major issues and there is no regulation, according to the women with whom I’m meeting. “Men smoke marijuana and drink to excess all the time and then they have no energy, they are immobilized and can’t finish school or get a job and it destroys them. They take it out on the women and beat them. We have to stop this vicious cycle,” says Marilyn.

That’s why women’s financial independence is seen as key to these women. With PNG Women in Business Foundation women pay a membership fee of 60 kina ($US30), which includes their access to a savings book. Once they save 500 kina ($US250) they receive an interest bearing loan book and then they are also entitled to a loan, usually starting at 1,000 kina ($US500). Loans are provided to individuals but they’re encouraged to meet in groups for support.

Giving women support, whether it’s economic or social, or both, is so important in this culture, especially for women living alone. In Papua New Guinea, sorcery and witchcraft are deeply ingrained in the psyche of many people in rural areas. “Widows are often branded as witches,” Lilly says. “And sometimes these women and their daughters are placed in a fire and burnt alive by young men in the community. “If you live alone you can be regarded with suspicion and once you’re branded, with ‘she’s a sorcerer’, you’re branded for life, even if you move,” says Barbara.

“It’s a spiritual thing,” says Marilyn. “Now the police are coming in to stop these practices but it’s still an issue in places like Simbu Province, Jiwaka Province and the Eastern Highlands.”

The focus in PNG on export production has encouraged support for extractive industries (mining, logging and fishing) of which the economic and social impacts have been disproportionately felt by women and girls. These industries are widening the gender gap in income, encouraging transactional sex, increased corruption and preferencing foreign investors at the expense of local people and landowners. This approach has also privileged agribusiness and neglected agriculture, including subsistence agriculture that supports 75% of the Pacific population and is primarily undertaken by women.

LNG is also driving up living costs and it’s also driving more money into the hands of men. According to Anne “this handout approach by LNG is creating an environment where people feel they deserve money (large amounts) for doing nothing, and it’s nearly always the men. These men may get a payment from LNG and go to Fiji or PNG and live it up, possibly spread HIV/AIDs and return to their families with nothing and so the women struggle to keep the family afloat.”

“Why doesn’t Exxon Mobil make a commitment to women and families, if it’s going to be in the country for the long-haul, I wondered. “What company is going to get the green light from a nearly all male Parliament, including polygamists, if Exxon says ‘we’re going to be women friendly and focused’?,” Lily responded.

And yet there are signs of hope.

The Australian Government has committed AUD$66 million to fund 1400 scholarships for Papua New Guinean midwives and nurses in order to help combat the high rate of maternal deaths in PNG and poor rural health services. Funds will be directed to PNG based medical and nursing schools to support 450 community health workers, 450 nurses and 500 midwives to be trained by 2015. Those midwives and nurses doing the training will supervise around 8,000 births a year, potentially saving many lives.

While this support is very welcome, the challenge is that these women doing the training will have to be away from their families while doing the training as the universities can only accommodate single students and not those with families. Of course, the cost of supporting family accommodation would be high although it’s often the women who have already married and have children who are the most skilled and best placed to do this training.

I ask my new friends what would be the top ten areas of investment they would advise donors to take to advance women’s and girls’ human rights in Papua New Guinea and they offer the following:

  1. Invest in girls’ education and adult literacy
  2. Build women’s cancer centers to support the growing incidence of cervical and breast cancer
  3. Undertake compulsory sex education and HIV/AIDS awareness training in all schools
  4. Invest in transport infrastructure to support women in markets to transport goods
  5. Improve market spaces for women including storage, toilets and safe money exchange
  6. Create women’s centers as safe meeting spaces for women since few such spaces exist
  7. Provide skills training for women including business management and financial literacy
  8. Get more women into Parliament by addressing corruption and Big Men Money
  9. Fund a National Council of Women Center to represent the united voices of women
  10. Invest in vocational and technical training centers that don’t have such a high entry standard or require prior experience so that we don’t lose another generation of young people, especially young women

These women also identified some issues which they said need to be addressed by Parliamentarians, including the three new women Parliamentarians who represent the hope of so many women in this country:

  1. Legislate a national initiative to address the high incidence of alcohol abuse and marijuana use in PNG and that builds in strong police powers of enforcement as a powerful measure to support ending violence against women
  2. Ban polygamy and ensure strong police powers of enforcement
  3. Pass the law to guarantee women 22 seats in Parliament in recognition that the elections are not an even playing field and that women will never be represented in Parliament in equal numbers with men until such temporary special measures are introduced
  4. implement the top ten recommendations above and ensure that every province has a vocational and technical training center

The women then start talking about the high number of orphans in the country as a result of their mothers dying of HIV/AIDS.

“I sure wish I could adopt a child,” I said to Janet Sape as I was debriefing with her.

“You can,” she said.

“No, it takes a long time as an Australian and I’m not a US resident or citizen yet nor does it seem right to take a child from their culture.”

“Are you kidding? Janet says. “That child would love to go to Australia or the US where there are so many opportunities.”

I remember what a woman said to me yesterday, “No-one is childless in this country, we look after each other’s children.” I watch a curly headed girl, maybe three years old, walking with her mother toward me. Maybe I can be a mother in the world, I think.

The little girl looks up and reaches her arms out to me – I lift her up, hold her close and hand her back to her smiling Mum.

 

Jane Sloane  –  Papua New Guinea

 

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Letter from the Pacific Islands #1

“Climate change is not just about science and statistics. Climate Change is about human rights.” This is Ursula Rakova, the courageous woman who created an organization called “Tulele Peisa” (in the Halia language this is translated to mean “Sailing the waves on our own”) to relocate the some 3,000 people of Huene in the Carteret Islands, due to rising sea levels rendering it almost uninhabitable. The Carteret Islands are 86 km north of Bougainville in the Pacific Islands.

On the eve of relocation, Ursula said “land on the Carteret Islands is traditionally owned by women, unlike many other Pacific Islands. My grandmother passed on land to my mother and my mother to me. I would have passed on my land to my daughter but this is not to be. We have to relocate to another country. Where are our human rights when we are being displaced to another land not of our choosing — where it breaks us as a clan and we become a divided people? Where are our human rights when we are leaving our livelihoods, our values, our cultures behind?”

The impact of climate change on people is dramatically apparent in the Carteret Islands, and is also becoming quantifiably predictable in other parts of the Pacific.

Mark Howden of the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, said recently that “with climate change, conditions will become wetter and hotter in the Equatorial regions and hotter and dryer in most of the rest of the Pacific. Sea level rise and salination of fresh water supplies as a result of climate change, will impact on the food web in the ocean too. Other effects will include increased tropical cyclones, floods and drought, growing waste problems, increased invasive species resulting in dramatic increases in exposure to diseases such as malaria.”

Already thousands of people in the Pacific Island of Samoa have had their water supplies rationed as the country’s catchments dry up. This scenario is now also playing itself out in other Pacific countries and so water is going to continue to become more limited and women, as the water bearers, agricultural workers and domestic heads, will be the ones most impacted. The lack of water will impact agricultural production, food processing and availability of safe drinking water, especially in rural and remote communities.

A meeting held last week by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) during Doha resulted in the following statement:

“We begin the final week of negotiations at Doha with the sober recognition that time is running out to prevent the loss of entire nations … Since last time we met in Durban many of our countries have endured numerous extreme and, in some cases deadly, weather events, such as prolonged droughts, heat waves, floods and super-storms – not to mention accelerating sea level rise and increasing ocean acidification… Without bold action…we are on track for a 3.5 degree Celsius rise in temperature and a global catastrophe.”

So it’s clear that the ‘business as usual’ approach has failed. The deepening energy, food, water and ecological crisis is seeing women carrying the majority of the burden. In the coming decades, climate change will result in at least 200 million people permanently leaving their homeland in search of viable livelihoods and safety. Climate induced re-settlement and migration is already happening in the Pacific as the story of the Carteret islanders testifies. To address this scenario, the Green Economy must be based on women’s community empowerment, as key stewards of biodiversity.

There needs to be an abiding commitment by governments and donors to participation by women in relation to poverty eradication and sustainable development. This commitment also needs to honor the spiritual connection that Pacific people have to the sea and their land and to their Pacific ways of seeing and being in order to re-imagine and re-create local level economies in the midst of global upheaval. This is essential given that climate change impact is colliding with deepening and accelerating poverty in the Pacific.

The lack of availability of energy in rural areas to power refrigerators to store fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and meat means that people remain reliant on imported processed and canned foods, all of which contribute to poor nutrition in families, and particularly women and children. While solar lighting in rural areas helps provide for activity such as helping students to study and do their homework, these small units aren’t powerful enough to power refrigerators to store fresh goods.

Population growth has also stressed the capacity of local food production which has then further increased dependence on exports. And, as fossil fuel prices increase tenfold, so will food transport and delivery prices which will further reduce access for women and their families, many of whom are already living on the poverty line.

Women are at the front line of climate change impact and they also have the potential to be at the front line of managing the impacts of this changing environment. By equipping them to be leaders in low-carbon, resource sustainable green economies they become solution builders, able to adapt and support their families and communities in dealing with climate change realities.

This may include development of marine parks, coral reef management, rainwater capture, recycling programs, sustainable forest management and agricultural practices and new transport and fuel solutions to support women in markets. It may also include women organizing against the natural resources in their communities that are being extracted and exported – resources including logging, nickel, gold and copra as well as experimental sea bed mining.

To better support women addressing climate change, the Global Fund for Women is establishing a Green Grants for Women initiative. This program will invest in women’s organizations that are supporting women as climate change solution builders. Women’s organizations led by women like Ursula Rakova, the tireless organizer, to relocate her people to Bougainville.

Since assisting her community to relocate, Ursula has dedicated much of her time and effort to helping her atoll community navigate a safe future as their island home experiences the full force of climate change. To do this she founded a company called Bougainville Cocoa Net Limited to create a means for her people to earn an income.

“As many families were resettled near cocoa farms, I see the trade in organic cocoa as a practical and realistic economic activity for the Carteret settlers and we’re now well linked to the international organic cocoa and fair trade market.”

“This will create long term sustainability for my people as well as the wider Bougainville cocoa growers, steering communities away from divisive and destructive large-scale projects such as logging, oil palm plantation and mining.”

And yet Ursula cannot stay away from her beloved Carterets. In one gorgeous clip of her she is following a pod of dolphins in her boat – the dolphins look like they’re grinning even as they swim and flip ahead. Ursula can’t help herself, she somersaults into the sea and dives deep, a mermaid back in her watery home.

 

Jane Sloane – In The Pacific

 

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Letter from Papua New Guinea #2

One cassowary, two sheep, 24 pigs, 1,600 kina worth of vegetables, 10,000 kina of gas and 10,000 kina in cash is the worth of a woman.

That’s the bride price my driver, Andrew, paid for his wife, Jennifer, when they met and married in Mount Hagen in the Papua New Guinea Highlands.

“As a couple, we received up to 50% of that payment back in some form,” Andrew explained.  My parents-in-law gave us back 3 pigs, 800 kina of vegetables, especially bananas which we didn’t have, cooking utensils, bedding and 3,000 kina in cash.  We needed this as we were very, very poor.  I had to worked for years in my garden to save for the bride price.”

This is the reality of a man marrying a woman in one of the rural areas of the Papua New Guinea.  Old traditions remain strong.

Around 40% of PNG’s population lives on less than US$1 per day, with PNG ranking 121 out of 135 countries on the United Nations Human Poverty Index, which measures a country’s standard of living.  On the UN Human Development Index, which measures literacy, life expectancy and standard of living, PNG ranks 148 out of 182 countries.

PNG has the poorest state of health in the Pacific region, especially in rural areas where health services are deteriorating and difficult to access at best, or at worst closed down. Access to healthcare in more remote areas can be severely restricted, where patients, health workers and supply deliveries must negotiate raging rivers, muddy roads and rugged mountains.

“PNG has the second highest rate of maternal mortality in the world after Afghanistan,” Scholla Kakas, President of the National Council of Women, told me today.  The churches are the ones that have focused on local training for village attendants but there’s still so few who have been trained.  It would help if we had a training facility for midwives but, even then, there are issues of transport and access, especially in the remote locations. Meanwhile, the women are dying.”

“If a woman has pregnancy complications in a remote area then she may have to walk or be carried by her family on a stretcher to the nearest local clinic, and that may be days away. I remember coming across a heavily pregnant woman who had traveled five days on foot to get help and her water broke during that journey and the baby was coming out of her as she tried to walk.”

“We haven’t made much progress on the Millennium Development Goals and we’ve only got three years to go to the deadline.”

In many developed countries, the average ratio is one doctor per 400 people while in Papua New Guinea it is one doctor per 7,900 people. Most doctors, nurses and midwives doctors are located in the capital, Port Moresby.

In some of the more remote regions of the country there are no midwives, doctors or nurses, leaving up to 66,000 people with no access to medical care.  As a result of these and other factors, communicable diseases are responsible for 50% of deaths in PNG.  These include pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis, meningitis and, increasingly, HIV/AIDS.

  • If you’re a woman living in Papua New Guinea then your life expectancy is 30% lower than if you were born in the US or Australia and you have a 1 in 5 chance of dying before the age of 40.
  • If you’re a pregnant woman you have a much greater risk of dying during childbirth or from pregnancy related causes, with a maternal mortality rate 118 times that of Australia’s.
  • Babies born in PNG are 10 times more likely than in the US or Australia to die by the age of one and 12 times more likely to die by the age of five.
  • Papua New Guinea accounts for more than 90% of the deaths of children under five in the Pacific region.

Global Fund for Women’s Grantee partners have been responding with their own creative initiatives to some of these issues.  For instance, in 2007 a group of single mothers formed the Waugla Single Mother’s Association (WSMA) in Simbu Province. The group’s mission is to address the issues of a marginalized, but rapidly growing, community of single mothers from aged 17-40 and it conducts training on food preservation and security as well as birth control practices. Members of the group have also collectively pooled their resources to help each member construct their own homes.

Another group, The Women’s Rural Advance Program (WRAP) is a women’s group located in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea. Established in 1988 by women of the Ramui tribe, the membership of the organization includes 18 women’s groups over 900 women from different communities. WRAP trains rural women to become leaders and to foster the future leadership of women and girls across Papua New Guinea and to increase women’s economic autonomy and advocacy around health and HIV/AIDS.

I want to know how these women and others here in PNG supported by the Global Fund for Women, together with our formal and informal advisors, are dealing with these realities.  What do they believe needs to be done and how we can best support them to accelerate and amplify their work and advocacy?

So, I’m heading to Goroka this week to meet with a group of our grantees who’ll be traveling from their homes in different parts of the country in order to meet with me.  Their stories, as solution builders, will feature in my blog post this week.

As I was headed back to my accommodation today, I watched a gorgeous girl peep out the window of a bus, held tight by her Mum, who waved at me. Across from my hotel, street artists lined up their brilliantly painted scenes of everyday life in PNG for the 99 percenters here. One painting was of people in a local bus looking up at westerners in a kind of Biggles plane contraption in the sky.

“We are singing in our bus”, the woman artist explained to me. “We’re poor but we have our families and our songs and our feet on the ground.

We feel life. You foreigners are in another world with your heads in the clouds looking down on us all the time.”

She smiled and looked at me. “Two hundred kina, you buy?”

 

Jane Sloane – Papua New Guinea

 

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Letter from Papua New Guinea #1

Janet SapeWhen I last saw Janet Sape she was talking about her dream of creating a Microbank for Women in Papua New Guinea.  Now that dream is about to become a reality as she awaits the banking license for this new bank, with its working title of Pacific Women’s Bank.

“We had been discussing the name Meri Bank, as Meri means women in Papua New Guinea, but we also want to be able to expand the bank beyond PNG and we need the name to be relevant in other Pacific countries too,” Janet Sape explained today.

As a successful business woman who founded City Mother’s Foundation in 2006 and is now the Founder of PNG Women in Business Foundation, Janet now has 13,000 women signed up as financial members of this foundation and over 15,000 women registered in total.  In addition, she and her colleagues have arranged to provide financial literacy training and IT training to women wanting to open bank accounts or take out a loan.  This foundation will also, in time, work to provide access to affordable housing, health care, education and health insurance for women who are members.

Speaking about issues around women’s economic empowerment today, Janet said

“More than 80% of PNG women live in rural areas where there’s no access to banking or finance.  The vast majority of these women work in the informal sector, as tailors, farmers, fisher-women, where they have no financial security and are very vulnerable. Women can’t inherit property and they rely on their husband’s signature for security if they’re wanting to take out a small loan.That’s why we’re planning to undertake a pilot project in three rural areas, and one in Port Moresby.  Some areas of the country are more challenging, such as Mt Hagen, due to law and order issues, and so we have to be realistic about what we can achieve in the medium term.”

“We are small people here.  We don’t have Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey to champion us.  Women have to help each other, especially in an environment where polygamy is increasing and marriages are shaky.  If a woman walks out of a marriage then she’s left with nothing.  However, if a woman is financially secure she can buy land or a house and own it.  She can pay to put food on the table, give her children an education, manage her business and afford health care.  Truly, economic independence will be the savior of women in this country.”

To be eligible for a loan at this women’s bank, women will be required to do compulsory financial literacy training and to have a track record of at least six month savings.

The time is right for such an initiative, Janet Sape says. “This bank will give women hope for their future, especially when violence against women in the home is particularly bad.  If a woman has access to savings then she can leave her home and establish her own life.  With the big LNG pipeline, only a quarter of the country will benefit with three quarters missing out.  Whereas with a bank like this, women from across the country can benefit.   It’s a way to reduce the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.”

Scholla Kakas, President of the National Council of Women (PNG) agrees.

“At present, basic services are not reaching women in rural and remote areas.  There’s no infrastructure to support women’s economic empowerment and women have no say in important decisions.  And yet women will turn this country around once we have the resources and the influence.  We know the problems really well. We know what’s needed too. We’ve already seen what Dame Carol Kidu has been able to do for women and children and the disempowered through her time in Parliament.  I pray that one day God will let a woman rule this country.  Until then, we really hope the Global Fund for Women, and all those who support women’s rights, will help us in our struggle for justice, security, voice and power.

We only receive 150,000 kina from the government (US$72,000) as a national women’s organization.  We have no national office here, we work from our homes and in hotels for meetings such as this. This is despite the fact that we have 62 local women’s councils and we represent thousands of women across the country.  However, with the Bill currently in Parliament it will effectively mean that the National Council of Women will be the mandated voice of women in this country from the capital all the way to the village level.  We’ll help women to know their rights and we’ll be a powerful force for good across the nation.  We just hope we can now attract the resources and funding to sustain our movement building.”

 Nearby, at the Airways Hotel where I met with a group of women, the staff were (literally) rolling out the red carpet for the arrival of Senator Bob Carr, Australia’s Foreign Minister.  It was reported today that Senator Carr said further action on domestic and sexual violence would be on the agenda for the inaugural Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum in Port Moresby this week.

Let’s hope that it results in a comprehensive plan of action.

A plan that engages the National Council of Women to galvanize women and men across the country to work to end violence against women and the PNG Women in Business Foundation to help power women to a new economic reality.

 

Jane Sloane – Papua New Guinea

UPDATE

I found this old post from my time at IWDA…

PDF: 20100403-IWDA-JaneSloane The Personal is Political
[pdf width=”800px” height=”1000px”]https://janeintheworld.com//wp-content/uploads/2012/12/20100403-IWDA-JaneSloane-The-Personal-is-Political.pdf[/pdf]

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Letter from Solomon Islands #2

I stepped into the airport transfer vehicle in the Solomon Islands to head to the airport and catch a plane to Papua New Guinea.

I was the only passenger in the vehicle and the driver asked, conversationally, “who do you work for?”  “The Global Fund for Women,” I said.

And what does your organization do?” he asked. “We support women’s organizations in developing countries to deal with issues in their community such as women’s and girls’ access to education, training and jobs.  Also their access to sexual and reproductive health services as well as addressing violence against women and ensuring their safety and security.  We support women to advocate for their rights.”

“Well, women here have themselves to blame.  They dress like they are asking to be raped, with the short skirts and dresses many of them wear and all of that bare skin.  It’s natural for a man to grab them if they dress like that.”

 “No, it’s not. Men don’t own women and women have the right to be safe from violence and abuse regardless of what they’re wearing.  Your country is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is designed to protect women’s freedom of expression and movement and to safeguard them from violence of any kind.”

“You can’t change men’s desire and our way of being.  It’s natural.  It all started with Adam and Eve and original sin.  Eve seduced Adam. Women are the seductresses and causes of sin in the world.”

“Do you really think that God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha would agree that it’s okay for a man to have sex with his daughter or niece or a granddaughter.  Or for a man to grab a woman on the road and feel he has the right to violate, rape her or kill her because of what she’s wearing?”

“The women ask for this.  They have to change.  They have to respect men’s natural desire and not entice us.  You can’t come here as a white woman from another country and just tell us this is wrong.”

“I’m not. I’m reflecting what I’ve heard from women in the Solomon Islands.  I’m reflecting what I’ve heard from many men and women since I’ve lived in the Pacific and traveled across the Pacific.  Violence against women is not acceptable.  It’s a crime and it will be punished.”

“This isn’t the Pacific, it’s the Solomon Islands. Things are different here. You can’t change the culture of our country.  You can try but you will fail.  RAMSI is going and violence will return at even greater levels.  It’s the nature of this country.  You don’t even believe in the story of Adam and Eve.  You say that it’s just a story, that it’s not literal. Well for us it’s the truth.  It’s what we live by.”

“The attitude of those men who sexually abuse, rape, maim and kill women is not natural.  It’s not the law of God or of any ethical life. It’s wicked.  It’s inhuman.”

“No, women are like animals.  They provoke us, they make us grab them.  If they don’t restrain themselves in how they dress and how they act then it is not a man’s fault.  God understands this.  The scriptures say this.”

“Please read your Bible again.  This is not what it says.  Clearly we have to work more closely with religious and faith based leaders to ensure the messages they are giving are ones that condemn violence against women and state that their religion doesn’t in any way condone this.”

“It is because you are not married that you are saying this.  When you get married then things will be different.  You will learn obedience and you will understand men’s desire and men’s response to being provoked.”

“You’re wrong.  My partner would be arguing with you now.  He believes as I do, and many men I know believe as I do, both in the Pacific and in other parts of the world.”

“Well, here men are different.  Today women are wearing sexy clothes and making themselves available to men by their behavior.  And we will take them.  We cannot help ourselves.”

“I will work with my sisters, my brothers, with my community, with the weight of the whole world to change these attitudes and end violence against women.”

“You will not succeed but I wish you luck anyway, my friend.  Here are your bags. We have arrived.  Have a good journey.  God Bless.”

 

 

NOTE I felt it important to record what’s happening here.  Next, and on a much brighter note, I’ll write about the amazing Pacific Women’s Bank that Janet Sape and other women are establishing in Papua New Guinea.

Jane Sloane – Solomon Islands

 

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