International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Posted on November 24, 2017


image of woman smiling during counselling session with victim of violence

Seeking safety from violence

Five years ago, Clarisse* left her husband in Lae , Papua New Guinea due to domestic violence and returned to her home province. When Clarisse’s father-in-law, who supported the children financially, asked to see them, Clarisse felt obliged to agree. She returned to Lae with the children so they could see their grandfather. But it didn’t take long for her ex-husband to find her. He began to physically, verbally and sexually assault Clarisse.

Badly injured and scared for her life, Clarisse went to the police. They took her to the Family Support Centre for urgent medical care. They also contacted our local partner, Femili PNG, to arrange emergency accommodation for Clarisse and her children. When police went to collect their belongings from the in-laws, members of the community warned them that Clarisse should never come back, or her ex-husband might kill her.

A brighter future

Femili PNG helps survivors of family and sexual violence access the services they need, from medical care and police protection, to vocational training to help survivors establish independent lives. They provided shelter and counselling for Clarisse and her children at their safe house. They also arranged and paid for them to travel home. Clarisse’s family was relieved to have her back.

Femili PNG also offered training and support so Clarisse could start her own business and would no longer have to rely on her father-in-law. Initially, she started a coconut business, but that was not profitable. She then reinvested her money to open a small shop, which has been a success, and she now earns enough to support her children. When her case worker visited Clarisse recently, Clarisse said she was grateful for the assistance she received, and was enjoying her independence and safety.

*All names have been changed and identifying details removed to protect Femili PNG clients. This photo is a re-enactment of a client consultation.  

November 25th is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.