Up to 35 abused women go to the Boroko Family and Sexual Violence Unit a day in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby and 90 percent of them report being raped.
This would amount to 11,479 forceful sexual penetration cases processed by the unit, on a yearly average, says Senior Constable Juliana Epe, the officer in charge.
Senior Constable Epe reported that since 2009 the intake of victimised women at her unit had staggered – and the spectrum of cases included the upper echelon of society, such as female politicians.
“We take in between 20 and 35 women a day – I have dealt with women who are managers, departmental heads, secretaries and even female ministers,” she said.
“These women survivors show up with reports of being physically assaulted, bashed up, forcefully raped – others are traumatised with scars, deep wounds on their bodies inflicted by objects and bruises on their faces,” Senior Constable Epe said.
Girls barely out of their teenage years and women old enough to retire from work had become prey to perpetrators of violence-related crimes, according to Senior Constable Epe.
“Females between the ages of 15 – 55 are what we receive, but we regularly receive women between the ages of 30 – 42 who are either single mothers or housewives and we listen carefully to their reports and establish how they would like us to assist,” she said.
“Most of them do want their partners charged and arrested so we assist them to acquire a protection order through the PNG Developing Lawyers Association (PNGDLA),” Senior Constable Epe said.
The number of incest cases that involved male relatives sexually penetrating their daughters or nieces had also seen a rise.
But the inability of the young victims to step forward and give evidence had proven to be a barrier that prohibited “the wheels of justice from turning”.
“Most of the cases involving children are sexual touching and sexual penetration and they are too shy to come out because the perpetrators are known to them – it could either be their father or uncle or cousin brothers,” she said.
“We send the serious cases to CID or the Sexual Offences Squad and they deal with it.
“These cases are futile if the young victim is unwilling to confirm the report and the perpetrator because who will appear in court? It’s a waste of time because it will be thrown out of court,” Senior Constable Epe explained.
She said the dangerous trend of violence-related crimes inflicted on women was increasing every year and she encouraged society to stand up against it.
“The victimised women and their families must step forward and give information as the inability to do this leads to suicides and other social problems, while the perpetrators walk free,” Senior Constable said.