Sexual violence in Papua New Guinea

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A client at the Family and Sexual Violence Unit at Waigani Police Station speaks to police officers about a case.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is often labelled as potentially the worst place in the world for gender-based violence.[1][2]


Violence against women

An estimated 67% of wives have been beaten by their husbands with close to 100% in the Highlands Region according to a 1992 survey by the PNG Law Reform Commission.[3][4] In urban areas, one in six women interviewed needed treatment for injuries caused by their husbands.[3] The most common forms of violence include kicking, punching, burning and cutting with knives, accounting for 80% to 90% of the injuries treated by health workers.[5]

An estimated 55% of women have experienced forced sex, in most cases by men known to them, according to a 1993 Survey by the PNG Medical Research Institute.[3][4][5] Abortion in Papua New Guinea is illegal unless it is necessary to save the woman's life, so those who experience pregnancy from rape have no legal recourse.

Violence against infants, children and adolescents

UNICEF describes the children in Papua New Guinea as some of the most vulnerable in the world.[6] According to UNICEF, nearly half of reported rape victims are under 15 years of age and 13% are under seven,[7] while a report by ChildFund Australia citing former Parliamentarian Dame Carol Kidu claimed 50% of those seeking medical help after rape are under 16, 25% are under 12 and 10% are under eight.[8]

Up to 50 percent of girls are at risk of becoming involved in sex work, or being internally trafficked.[6] Many are forced into marriage from 12 years of age under customary law.[6] One in three sex workers are under 20 years of age.[6]

Violence against men

A 2013 study found that 7.7% of men have sexually assaulted another male.[9]



A 2013 study by Rachel Jewkes and colleagues, on behalf of the United Nations Multi-country Cross-sectional Study on Men and Violence research team, found that 41% of men on Bougainville Island admit to coercing a non-partner into sex,[9] and 59% admit to having sex with their partner when she was unwilling.[10] According to this study, about 14.1% of men have committed multiple perpetrator rape.[9] In a survey in 1994 by the PNG Institute of Medical Research, approximately 60% of men interviewed reported to have participated in gang rape (known as lainap) at least once.[3]

Urban gangs

In urban areas, particularly slum areas, Raskol gangs often require raping women for initiation reasons.[11] Peter Moses, one of the leaders of the "Dirty Dons 585" Raskol gang, stated that raping women was a “must” for the young members of the gang.[11] In rural areas, when a boy wants to become a man, he may go to an enemy village and kill a pig to be accepted as an adult, while in the cities "women have replaced pigs".[11] Moses, who claimed to have raped more than 30 women himself, said, “And it is better if a boy kills her afterwards, there will be less problems with the police”.[11]


  1. ^ Davidson, Helen (5 July 2013). "Médecins Sans Frontières opens Papua New Guinea clinic for abuse victims". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  2. ^ Davidson, Helen (19 July 2013). "Papua New Guinea: a country suffering spiralling violence". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  3. ^ a b c d "Papue New Guinea: Women Shelter's Needed" (PDF). Amnesty International. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Where violence against women is rampant". Human Rights Watch. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Key Statistics" (PDF). Rugby league against violence. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d "Child Protection". UNICEF. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  7. ^ "UNICEF strives to help Papua New Guinea break cycle of violence". UNICEF. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  8. ^ Wiseman H (August 2013). "Stop Violence Against Women and Children in Papua New Guinea" (PDF). ChildFund. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Jewkes, Rachel; Emma Fulu; Tim Roselli; Claudia Garcia-Moreno (2013). "Prevalence of and factors associated with non-partner rape perpetration: findings from the UN Multi-country Cross-sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific". The Lancet Global Health. 1 (4): e208–e218. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(13)70069-X. PMID 25104346. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  10. ^ Fulu, E., Jewkes, R., Roselli, T., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2013). "Prevalence of and factors associated with male perpetration of intimate partner violence: findings from the UN Multi-country Cross-sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific". The Lancet Global Health. 1 (4): e187–e207. doi:10.1016/s2214-109x(13)70074-3. PMID 25104345.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ a b c d "Crying Meri". Vlad Sokhin. Retrieved 12 February 2014.

External links

  • Medecins Sans Frontieres
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