PNG health survey shows 56% of women suffer violence at age 15

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A gender-based violence graphic in Papua New Guinea. Image: Stephanie Meyu/Instagram

By Grace Auka-Salmang in Port Moresby

Key findings from the 2016 to 2018 Papua New Guinea Demographic and Health Survey reveals that 56 percent of women aged 15 to 49 in PNG have experienced physical violence around the age of 15.

And 28 percent have experienced sexual violence.

Also 18 percent of women who have been pregnant have experienced violence during their pregnancy.

READ MORE: Background and reports on gender-based violence in PNG

Dr Fiona Hukula
RESEARCHER Dr Fiona Hukula … findings “very scary in this country”. Image: NRI

Researcher and leading anti-violence campaigner Dr Fiona Hukula said that according to the survey this revealed the higher a woman’s education was, the more likely she would face violence.

“That is very scary in this country where we are trying to advocate for women’s lives and for better empowerment,” she said.

The death of 19-year-old mother Jenelyn Kennedy almost two weeks ago and a spate of protests over gender-based violence has focused national attention on the issue.

According to the survey, in terms of spousal violence, about 63 percent of ever-married women have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence.

“The most common type of spousal violence is physical violence where 54 percent have experienced it, followed by emotional violence with 51 per cent.

Periodic demographic, health update
“Twenty-nine per cent of women have experienced spousal sexual violence, including injuries due to cuts, bruises, or aches.

In terms of seeking help, about 35 percent of women who have ever experienced physical or sexual violence have sought help, while 13 percent have never sought help but have told someone about the violence.

Thirty-nine percent of women who have experienced any type of physical or sexual violence have not sought help or told anyone about the violence.

The PNG Demographic and Health Survey is a nationally representative survey conducted as a periodic update of the demographic and health situation in Papua New Guinea.

The 2016-18 findings was the first DHS report conducted in PNG in collaboration with the worldwide Demographic and Health Surveys Programme, which is a global initiative coordinated by ICF, based in Rockville, Maryland, USA.

The survey was implemented by the PNG National Statistical Office.

The 2016-18 PNG DHS final report provides information on basic indicators of fertility, fertility preferences, family planning practices, childhood mortality, maternal and child health, knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and other related health issues.

Grace Auka-Salmang is a PNG Post-Courier reporter.

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