Sexual violence in Papua New Guinea

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

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


Violence against women[edit]

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]

Violence against infants and children[edit]

UNICEF describes the children in Papua New Guinea as some of the most vulnerable children in the world.[6] According to UNICEF, nearly half of reported rape victims are under 15 years of age and 13% are under 7 years of age,[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 8.[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[edit]

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 in Papua New Guinea 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[edit]

See also: Raskol 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. 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. 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. 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. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Crying Meri". Vlad Sokhin. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 

External links[edit]