PNG gender violence in the headlines

The gender-based violence epidemic in Papua New Guinea is again making international headlines, with the broadcast of an hour-long radio documentary on the BBC World Service and a moving video telling the story of a survivor.

Photographer Vlad Sokhin, whose evocative images have been shedding light on the pervasive problem of violence against women and children in PNG, allowed a radio producer to follow him to capture the voices and stories of the women in the photos. The resulting radio documentary not only shares heartbreaking stories of survivors, but those of the men who freely admit to perpetrating violence and rape. The documentary also gives an insight into the work being done at one of the few safe houses for women in the country, Haus Ruth in Port Moresby. (A warning that the documentary contains graphic descriptions of violence and rape).

Sokhin has also teamed up with Benjamin Chesterton to produce a short video sharing the story of Dini Korul, who was accused of sorcery and attacked after her own son died.

While data that we shared last month shows that there is a response to this violence developing in PNG, and the documentary features some of those advocates providing services and help to survivors in the most trying of circumstances, it is another reminder of the trauma being inflicted on women and children in PNG and the need for more services and long-term investment to support intergenerational change.

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Ashlee Betteridge

Ashlee Betteridge was the Manager of the Development Policy Centre until April 2021. She was previously a Research Officer at the centre from 2013-2017. A former journalist, she holds a Master of Public Policy (Development Policy) from ANU and has development experience in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. She now works as a development consultant.

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