Women And Domestic Violence In Papua New Guinea

Domestic violence is a traumatic experience for those who experience it. According to the World Health Organization, about 1 in 3 women (30%) worldwide are subject to domestic violence, whether it’s physical, sexual, or both. 

While domestic violence doesn’t discriminate when it comes to nationality, this is a major problem in the country of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The statistics are quite shocking: 67% of women in PNG are subject to domestic abuse. Over 50% of PNG women have been raped as a result of domestic abuse. Another shocking statistic is that 86% of women have been beaten while they were pregnant. Worse still, more than 90% of women and girls have experienced some form of violence while accessing public transport.

Now, these statistics are just scratching at the surface of the bigger problem. Women are subject to all kinds of abuse in Papua New Guinea. While it’s easy to call for action, it’s harder to take action without coming up with practical solutions. As we delve deeper into this topic, understand that there is a need for resources and support for PNG women to escape this dangerous lifestyle.

Why The Violence?

“While data is always received, when it comes to domestic violence against women in the Papua New Guinea,” says Hannah Green, a psychology blogger at Write my X and 1 Day 2 Write, “the bigger issue lies with the fact that we’re not getting the fully story. In fact, many elements are left out when researching such a topic.” With that said, here are some reasons why there’s not enough data in support of showing how bad the domestic violence crisis is in PNG: There has been an epidemic of under reporting abuse, cultural acceptance of said abuse, and the fear of repercussions from men, police, and so on. The list goes on. 

Who is Affected By Violence in Papua New Guinea?

In many cases, women and girls are the main targets of domestic abuse. The usual stereotypes of wife, daughter, homemaker, mother, etc. are often labels that these women and girls must wear in the PNG. In addition, domestic violence is bred at home, where male family members have much of the power. In these cases, males would have control over women and girls. Sometimes, things would escalate to physical and sexual violence from the males. Such violence may involve rape, serious injuries, and or death.

However, one of the most extreme forms of domestic violence stems from the practice of bride-price. Bride-price refers to the practice of men paying a “price” for their bride, and then feeling entitled to doing whatever they wanted to their wives. With wives as their “property,” men are allowed to get away with things like rape, physical violence, and so on. As for the families who receive this “payment,” they will not provide support or even receive abused women back, since that’s seen as returning the payment received for the arranged marriage.

And, since bride-price is part of “tradition,” not many people will challenge this long-standing way of life. Even if the woman rejects this practice, there will still be repercussions. Needless to say, this practice will only aggravate problems with domestic violence. 

Diving Deeper

As mentioned so far, domestic violence is the direct result of tradition playing a major role in marriage and in women’s lives. In most cases, tradition is something that won’t go without a fight.

Such notorious traditions in PNG like the bride-price are detrimental to women. Traditions like this don’t allow women to stand up for themselves or make their own decisions. This also stems from the long-standing patriarchal stereotypes and attitudes towards women and their roles, status, and responsibilities in public and in private. Again, the idea of women being considered “property” to men can be demeaning for wives and girls.

So, what can people do to change all of this? Is there a viable solution?

Any Solutions?

“Domestic violence against women has been a persistent problem in Papua New Guinea,” says Candice Grey, a content writer at Origin Writings and Brit Student. “The even bigger issue is that there aren’t enough resources to combat this issue. But with national and social intervention, domestic violence can be challenged and discouraged. When women and girls have access to more resources in that country, then the problem of domestic violence can be tackled. It’s not enough to place a band-aid on a gaping wound, when it comes to domestic violence. Getting to the source of domestic violence is a good start.”

Therefore, there has to be solutions to tackle this social issue. With that said, Papua New Guinea would need to consider resources like safe houses and shelters, counselling for women and girls, local programs (i.e., school, church, etc.), more criminal investigations, harsh repercussions for violators, and delegitimizing domestic violence.

When more and more solutions are implemented, domestic violence will have no place in Papua New Guinea. However, these all start with, as mentioned, national and social intervention. 


Domestic violence against women is a cruel reality in Papua New Guinea. It can happen anywhere in the country, especially in the home. As the statistics show, this issue is dire, and will only get worse if there are no interventional solutions in place. 

While Papua New Guinea still has many hurdles to overcome before finding that much-needed silver lining, there is still hope for a better tomorrow for the abused. With more activism and intervention, there is a chance that things can change in women’s favor. 

About The Author

George J. Newton is a writer and editor at Write my research paper and Dissertation writing service. He is also a contributing writer for Next Coursework. As a content writer, he writes articles about humanitarian efforts, volunteering, and career advice. 

Image Source: International Women’s Development Agency