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Engendering Violence in Papua New Guinea

Engendering Violence in Papua New Guinea

Margaret Jolly
Christine Stewart
with Carolyn Brewer
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Engendering Violence in Papua New Guinea
    Book Description:

    This collection builds on previous works on gender violence in the Pacific, but goes beyond some previous approaches to 'domestic violence' or 'violence against women' in analysing the dynamic processes of 'engendering' violence in PNG. 'Engendering' refers not just to the sex of individual actors, but to gender as a crucial relation in collective life and the massive social transformations ongoing in PNG: conversion to Christianity, the development of extractive industries, the implanting of introduced models of justice and the law and the spread of HIV. Hence the collection examines issues of 'troubled masculinities' as much as 'battered women' and tries to move beyond the black and white binaries of blaming either tradition or modernity as the primary cause of gender violence. It relates original scholarly research in the villages and towns of PNG to questions of policy and practice and reveals the complexities and contestations in the local translation of concepts of human rights. It will interest undergraduate and graduate students in gender studies and Pacific studies and those working on the policy and practice of combating gender violence in PNG and elsewhere.

    eISBN: 978-1-921862-86-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Christine Stewart
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Margaret Jolly, Christine Stewart and Carolyn Brewer
  5. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Prologue: The Place of Papua New Guinea in Contours of Gender Violence
    (pp. xvii-xxviii)
    Margaret Jolly

    Friday 24 March 2006. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. A large group of women and some men are gathering at Jack Pidik Park at Five-Mile to march to Tabari Place in Boroko. The women are of diverse generations but most of them are residents of Port Moresby. Some wear casual clothes, some are more formally dressed, some wear the striking uniforms of their professions, the womenʹs and church groups they belong to or the NGOs they work for. Many are carrying bilums (string bags) which suggest both their national identity as citizens of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and their diverse...

  7. Introduction—Engendering Violence in Papua New Guinea: Persons, Power and Perilous Transformations
    (pp. 1-46)
    Margaret Jolly

    Gender violence is not a new problem. It takes place in virtually all societies around the world, but only in the last thirty years has it become visible as a social issue.

    Understanding gender violence requires looking both at the intimate details of family life and at geopolitical considerations of power and warfare. In order to understand gender violence it is necessary to understand the world (Merry 2009: 1, 19).

    Gender violence poses a classic anthropological dilemma apropos human universals versus culturally relative concepts and values. But, both in research and in policy and associated programs of prevention and intervention,...

  8. 1. Black and Blue: Shades of Violence in West New Britain, PNG
    (pp. 47-72)
    Naomi McPherson

    The May 1986 ʹSeville Statement on Violenceʹ (in Hussey 2003: 355–57) debunks essentialist, biologically reductionist explanations for human violence. In statements that begin ʹIt is scientifically incorrectʹ the authors point out that (1) humans have not inherited violent tendencies from our primate ancestors; (2) violent behaviour is not genetically inherited; (3) aggression was not selected for in human evolutionary history; (4) human neurophysiology does not compel us to violence; and, (5) violence is not instinctual in humans. While certainly capable of violence, the notion that violence is a biologically determined and evolutionarily honed human (genetic) trait needs to be...

  9. 2. Troubled Masculinities and Gender Violence in Melanesia
    (pp. 73-106)
    Laura Zimmer-Tamakoshi

    Violence against females (often referred to as ʹgender violenceʹ) is the most common form of interpersonal violence in Melanesia. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), such violence is prevalent in urban and rural households and reported rates of rape and sexual assault against women and girls exceed those in many industrial and developing countries. Equating ʹgender violenceʹ with violence against females, however, excludes from discussion male victims of domestic or sexual violence. It also underplays the complexities of Melanesian gender relations and ignores menʹs uneasy confrontations with modernity and kastam (resulting in ʹembattled masculinitiesʹ Jolly 2000), menʹs status insecurities amidst some...

  10. 3. Engendered Violence and Witch-killing in Simbu
    (pp. 107-136)
    Philip Gibbs

    Newspapers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) frequently carry headlines such as ʹSorcerers burnt aliveʹ (National 2–4 May 2008: 1), ʹDuo tortured, butchered and burntʹ (National 5 February 2008: 3), ʹCallous murderʹ (Post-Courier 10 January 2008: 1) or ʹWoman ʺhangedʺ for sorcery delivers babyʹ (National 26 February 2008: 5). Most of these cases involve the brutal torture or killing of women accused of sorcery or witchcraft.¹

    An Amnesty International Report on Violence Against Women in PNG, which received considerable international publicity, reports the PNG Minister for Social Welfare Dame Carol Kidu as saying that although both men and women are...

  11. 4. Becoming Mary: Marian Devotion as a Solution to Gender-based Violence in Urban PNG
    (pp. 137-162)
    Anna-Karina Hermkens

    The association between Mary, the mother of Jesus, and violence may seem unlikely, but in Papua New Guinea (PNG), as elsewhere in the world, people turn to Mary in order to seek a solution for the problems they face (Hermkens 2007; Hermkens et al. 2009).² This chapter deals with how, in the urban setting of Madang, Marian devotion is deployed in response to gender-based violence and HIV. In analysing the experiences and perceptions of female members of the Legion of Mary we must relate this to the current debate on Christianity in PNG (e.g. Robbins 2004; Jebens 2005), and to...

  12. 5. Engendering Violence in the Papua New Guinea Courts: Sentencing in Rape Trials
    (pp. 163-196)
    Jean G. Zorn

    Crimes of sexual violence such as rapes and sexual assaults of women and children, are disturbingly prevalent in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and are all too often carried out in a particularly sadistic and gruesome fashion. Parliament and the Papua New Guinean courts all recognise the gravity of the problem and have attempted to use the law to decrease the incidence of these crimes. Over the last thirty years, the courts have gradually increased the length of prison sentences for persons convicted of rape. Prior to the amendment of the PNG Criminal Code by the Criminal Code (Sexual Offences and...

  13. 6. Conversations with Convicted Rapists
    (pp. 197-212)
    Fiona Hukula

    When I mention that Iʹm from Papua New Guinea (PNG), it is not uncommon to hear negative comments regarding the law and order situation and high levels of violence against women. There has been much debate, awareness and lamenting about the situation of women and girls, especially in relation to gender violence and gender equity. A common response to issues of violence against women by Papua New Guineans is that em pasin bilong ol (TP: thatʹs their way) or em nomol ya (TP: thatʹs normal). Such statements insinuate that violence against women is a timeless tradition which is viewed as...

  14. 7. ʹCrime to be a Woman?ʹ: Engendering Violence against Female Sex Workers in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 213-238)
    Christine Stewart

    In March 2004, early on a Friday afternoon, police raided the Three-Mile Guesthouse in the Boroko suburb of Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea (PNG).¹ The guesthouse, a converted colonial residence, is typical of the many premises which provide short- and long-term accommodation at the lower end of the socio-economic scale—rooms are also let to women who sell sex and collect their own payment. Facilities include a bar, a snooker table and gaming machines. Some women peddle cooked food, cigarettes and betel nut in the front yard or outside the gate. It is open by day as...

  15. 8. Gender Violence in Melanesia and the Problem of Millennium Development Goal No. 3
    (pp. 239-266)
    Martha Macintyre

    This chapter was inspired initially by my involvement in a seminar on auditing and ʹmeasuringʹ gender in aid projects in which I participated as a board member of the International Womenʹs Development Agency, an Australian-based NGO. The brief paper¹ I wrote for that seminar set out arguments about the problems involved in dealing with the issue of violence and ʹmeasuringʹ success or failure of projects. In the course of the seminar, through subsequent reading of the literature on gender and aid (see Crewe and Harrison 1998 for an excellent bibliography, but also the ACFID report 2010) and in the light...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 267-270)
  17. Index
    (pp. 271-280)