Papua New Guinea’s rates of gender-based violence are “shameful”, said former Pacific Islands Forum General-Secretary Dame Meg Taylor at the University of Papua New Guinea’s 67th graduation this week.
“Research has shown that 80% of men have abused their partners physically or sexually in their lifetime,” she said.
“Young graduates have faced such issues at UPNG. Take what you have learned and work with others to change the course of this country… We can change.
“Please join us in the most important work of all, educate yourself and your sons and daughters, but please place great emphasis on how you raise your sons. Raise them to be strong and good men who honour their mothers and sisters and their wives and partners.
“The heart of the violence is the issue of power, and is the issue of country to resolve if there is guidance and the will to find the solution,” she said.
She thanked those who have worked hard from within Parliament, from international institutions and national organisations and individuals through their efforts in ensuring that legislations have been passed to enable gender equality.
She said so many resources have gone into this issue by international agencies and bilateral partners that “they worked in supporting our work, and that is very important.”
“We must fight for the changes that we need so that our sisters can live safely in this life and thrive as people.”
She added despite women getting a degree and being honoured, there had been an erosion of decency and respect for one another which would mean the increase of violence against women and this was a concern.
“Our system of traditional norms and governance have not been meeting the needs of the people instead creating deep frustration which could come in line with violence against women.
“The issue needs to be addressed in churches, schools, within our families and communities.
Dame Meg urged graduates to learn and listen to the rights of women in the Constitution and address them when they went out to seek employment.