by Vasinatta Yama – EM TV, Port Moresby
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. PNG commemorated the day with a photo exhibition of gender-based violence today, hosted by World Vision and the European Union.
This has put a face to the issue for survivors to receive support and treatment from development partners. Domestic and gender-based violence is a widespread and very serious issue for local women in PNG. The photos exhibited today are mostly for women who have undergone these issues.
This is the story of 40-year-old Helen Michael from Central Province, who is a survivor. Helen is a mother to seven beautiful children and a husband who is also from Central Province. She was attacked by a cannibal.
One day, Helen was walking on the main road when her attacker came and bit off her lower lip and tried to sink his teeth into her throat. The man was arrested and Helen spent three days in the hospital. After two years, Helen went for plastic surgery overseas.
She was funded by Childfund and Vlad Sokhin, a Russian photographer who covers human rights issues around the world. European Union Ambassador to PNG, Martin Dihm said gender-based violence is an obstacle in building a country and a threat to our democratic country. A project called ‘Crying Meri’ was launched to address what leadership could do to minimise gender-based violence.
Community Development Minister Delilah Gore said the issue must be addressed at all levels of government.