6 Responses

  1. John Kalu
    John Kalu April 15, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Thanks Anouk

    Your commentary on gender-based violence (GBV) here really holds the truth on Pacific Island countries, especially Solomon Island and its neighbour PNG.

    In order for one to understand GBV, one has to understand the cultural context in which one descends from with respect as well. While there are other factors also contributing to GBV like alcohol or economic reasons, we may find other more complicated reasons that may associate with modernization or introduced influences.

    If we investigate further into the cultural context of GBV, there is cultural limitation and acceptable practice related to GBV; cultures have practice regulations on men violence against women, value of women in society, certain roles and responsibilities expected from women and men. However, with the modern campaign on GBV, some of these cultural practices can be viewed as GBV issues with our modern approach and understanding.

    As a remedial approach to these GBV issues is not only to introduce new GBV laws in the country or provide counselling services to the victims, it would be better to identify the root factors that contribute to the issue and address it. For example, an economic problem in a family would rise to GBV, but providing counselling to the victim or introducing new GBV law are not the solution, there one needs to address the root factor which is the economic situation in the family.

    1. Anouk
      Anouk April 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Thanks John Kalu, what you say makes a lot of sense and it is good to get some feedback from PNG. I agree there needs to be a critical examination of root factors and work to address these pressures for the sake of reducing GBV but also many other harmful effects such as impact on children, food security, poverty and the impact of these root factors on communities the ability of communities to respond to pressures and crises. Such a view can also help us understand better how modern influences, traditional norms and economic issues all influence culture and cultural shifts and how these may contribute to violence. Rather than blaming culture, we need to dig a little deeper.

      1. John Kalu
        John Kalu April 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        Thanks again for your view into understanding GBV. I agree that an in-depth analysis needs to be done to understand the interrelated correlation between modern influences, traditional norms and economic issues and cultural shifts in society like PNG and Solomon Island.

        On the other end, we also have to point out that GBV prevention and remedial mechanisms and systems established in society sometimes failed to provide adequate and reliable services to the GBV victims, therefore victims often do not seek support. These mechanisms and systems needs to be well resourced and better equipped to provide sustainable support to the individuals and families affected by GBV.

        Unlike Australia or other developed societies where GBV prevention and remedial agencies and systems are well functioning, places like PNG and Solomon Island still struggling to provide the right balances. For example, the police are the first point of call for the GBV victims, but policemen are not trained to address that, they can only arrest the culprit. While another agency is responsible for proving counselling and comfort support with the support of another related agency, therefore the referral pathways are sometimes not helpful.

        Even in a country with strong legislation on GBV, enforcement is still a long way to go. We had these challenges in PNG. We really need an in-depth study.

  2. Judy Atkinson
    Judy Atkinson April 13, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Thank you Dr Ride. You make some very important points. Perhaps it would be good for us to look more closely at what is happening in Aboriginal Australia, Papua New Guniea, the Solomons, New Zealand (Maori) and so on as a comparative analysis, and see the changing face of culture in colonisation, with its contribution to violence within our societies. It is easy to point the finger at the rates of violence in our communities and blame culture. What is never discussed is the transgenerational layers of violence on Indigenous people, in the war zone experiences, the colonial interface of violence on Indigenous women, the intrusion into gender relationships, and the legitimisation of violence in its various forms, on Indigenous women by the colonial masters. The term ‘gender-based violence has problems, from my perspective, unless we also look at the violence perpetrated during the war on populations whose countries were used to fight the war. We need to understand the trauma experienced in violent interactions, and how that is passed down across generations to now be named as culture.

    1. Anouk
      Anouk April 13, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Yes Judy I totally agree and I know myself and others here have been inspired by your more wholistic approach to violence so thanks for your comments. The impact of colonialisation (both past and present) on gender roles, violence in families and relations between tribes and families is rarely acknowledged in ‘gender-based violence’ literature about developing country contexts, unlike other places e.g. the Victorian Government which acknowledge these broader causal factors and the role of Western governments in creating the conditions we see today. An intergenerational study would be valuable to really understand more about this in the Solomons context.

    2. Elizabeth Morgan
      Elizabeth Morgan April 16, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Beautifully articulated Judy – ‘gender based violence’ rolls off the tongue as though it is universally accepted and understood and that the explanations and the answers are clear and agreed. Your observations about the impact of colonisation and conflict on our own Indigenous communities and other places in the region are well made. There is a collusive silence from our own policy makers, donors, and international development stakeholders about the complexity of violence in its many forms and a lack of willingness to explore other explanations, narratives, solutions, and challenges. Your work in addressing violence is powerful for its respect, candidness, and willingness to work in other ways and contexts and which support women and men to find ways to change this together often using restorative processes which attend to the root causes for men and women.

Leave a Reply