Domestic Violence In PNG And How It Affects Children – Guest Blogger *Vavine`s Experience.

Writing about domestic violence in my own family and how it affected me as a child is like a form of therapy for me. By writing my experiences down and putting on this blog for all to read is a release for me. I am sort of letting go of all the bad memories. I think I have been keeping all these experiences inside me for so long and it sort of had a negative influence over my own life but publishing it on the Internet is making me feel like I do not have to carry this burden on my own anymore. The more people read it, they are also helping me by taking those bad memories away.

Sometime ago I wrote on my experiences with a friend while studying in college. I would like to tell you a bit more of my own life.

Most times I think back and thank my dear mother who held onto her marriage despite being physically and emotionally abused by my father. Despite her being abused all the time, she did not leave my dad and remarry because she did not want me or my sisters to be at risk of being sexually abused if she remarried – which is becoming common in PNG. Step fathers sexually abusing their step daughters. The many times I ask my mother why she did not leave, she says even if she was abused, at least there was food on the table and a roof over our head. She just thought of what was best for her children at that time.

When we were in primary school, my mother ususally visited us during lunch break to bring our lunch. I remember vividly the many occasions when she would turn up with a bruised face.

Going away to a tertiary institution to study not only took me away from my home and family problems but I think more importantly I made many friends who experienced similar problems in their own families. I have written about my friend *Hilda already. She was the first person whom I met who also had a abusive history in her own family so I felt that I was not alone in this world. The nature of my studies made me come into contact with children and even tolders who were victims of domestic violence. There were many times when *Hilda and I would share time together talking about our own problems and share ideas regarding other victims of domestic or sexual abuse.

I have asked my mum so many times why she had not reported to the police then. She said she was embarrassed and scared and could not afford to miss a day at work. She was also scared that she would ruined dad`s image and reputation as a sporting icon at that time. All she would say was forgive and forget.

She just said her priority were her kids. No matter how she suffered, she said it was in our best interest that she stayed. Maybe later when we are grown up we can judge her on that. By writing my experiences I guess I am sort of judging her why she stayed and did not leave.

When I met *Hilda, I thought it was better that my mum stayed. But if my mother had left my dad and remarried then my sisters and I would have been the subject of other forms of abuse. So it`s like deciding between two forms of abuse – which one is the “better” form of abuse?

* Vavine and Hilda are not their real names. It has been changed to  protect their identity. If the name or story matches you, it is unintentional.


About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
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