TARI, HELA PROVINCE, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Gender based violence in PNG has been in the spotlight at the National Development Forum this week, drawing responses and driving discussions.
The issue of GBV is also the focus of a series of television and radio programs currently being produced by EMTV’s Women’s World program with funding support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
In the last 3 months, Oil Search Foundation has been working with a wide range of stakeholders, including the National Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC), the National Family and Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU), the National Department of Health (NDoH) Gender Desk, UN Women and the Department of Justice and Attorney General to develop the episode themes and messages.
Rather than focus on just the problems associated with GBV, all stakeholders agreed that the filming and resulting 12 episodes will focus on positive responses and solutions as part of a nationwide response to the issue.
With the first episode complete, the second round of filming for the forthcoming EMTV series took place in Tari, Hela Province recently.
Sgt Alice Arigo, the Officer in Charge of the Family Sexual Violence Unit at the Tari Police Station plays a pivotal role in the law and justice sector’s response to violence across the province. Sgt Arigo has a 30 year history in the police force and has witnessed the impact of family and sexual violence in many provinces across the country. Six years ago she returned to her home province to champion the police response to family and sexual violence in Hela.
Sgt Alice is also represented the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary in the Australian and New Zealand Police Games that was held in Brisbane in early October. She holds the women’s record for shotput throwing and hopes to retain this title when she returns. “When the Australians see my size, they are running scared in the competition,” she joked. But on a serious note, when asked what message she will take to Australia, she said she will ensure that she; “exchanges information with comrades in the Australian and New Zealand regiments on how to improve services for survivors of family and sexual violence”.
Local Huli woman and President of the Hela Provincial Council of Women (HPCW), Ms Janet Koriama also took part in the film interviews. Ms Koriama, who also sits on the Board of the Hela Provincial Hospital, gave a history of the HPCW. She also discussed how men can act as champions of change by discussing with their male peers about how to treat women with respect.
EMTV journalist Deborah Pranis led the interviews. Ms Pranis remarked: “The use of media is a vital tool in ensuring the community is aware of services for survivors of family and sexual violence. Sgt Alice and Ms Koriama are real champions for the community and it is people like them who can really make a change for the better.”
Filming is expected to be completed in 6-8 weeks with the first episode airing in late October. It is hoped the series will create and drive the awareness and education needed to mitigate and respond to family and sexual violence across the country.
Related Article: Television Series to Highlight Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response in PNG