Papua New Guinea is a fascinating country with an incredible history and astonishing linguistic and cultural diversity. It also has some of the worst rates of rape and sexual violence in the world, with two thirds of women experiencing domestic violence and 50% experiencing rape [not over-egging to serve my ‘feminist agenda’, the stats are readily available all over the internet, just search ‘PNG rape stats’]. With this in mind, I have, over time, become more and more intrigued and frankly, outraged, by the lack of coverage this problem receives in UK press. If such shocking figures came out of a country closer to home, wouldn’t there be a national and even international outcry?
So I was pleased to see that today in the Guardian there is an interesting and thoroughly terrifying article [http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/10/asia-pacific-rape-survey?CMP=twt_gu] about the prevalence of rape across the Asia-Pacific region, with 25% of men questioned in certain areas [beware sketchy extrapolations of small-scale studies] admitting to raping women from a young age, either due to a sense of ‘sexual entitlement’ or simply in pursuit of ‘entertainment’.
The fact is that in PNG and across the Pacific, women, children and vulnerable males are being raped, beaten and killed as standard practice in many communities. Looking towards anthropological literature you might like to reflect on Gilbert Herdt’s work on ritualised homosexuality in Melanesia [http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520080966] among countless others, to see how the society-wide indoctrination and institutionalised rape has historically served to underpin the kind of stories we hear coming out of the Pacific today.