Bougainville president furious at "flawed report" on gender violence
Bougainville president furious are what he says is a flawed report painting a misleading picture of the extent of gender violence in the province.
The president of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is calling on the United Nations to apologise and withdraw a survey on gender violence he says is flawed.
The UN Gender Violence Survey was released last week and included assertions that some of the highest rates of sexual violence in the Asia/Pacific region occur in the province.
It said a quarter of men who admitted rape had first committed the offence by the age of 14.
The report also said one in five men had committed rape, with researcher James Lang saying violence has become normalised in Bougainville.
But President John Momis told Don Wiseman there are a number of things wrong with the report.
JOHN MOMIS: Number one, the ABG Research Ethics Committee first of all expressed their concern about the methodology and protocol that was to be used in the study, and we asked them, through this committee, to submit the report first of all to us, the ABG, which they totally failed to do. Bougainville is a small community, you know, being a matrilineal society. And we the leaders would have found out a long time ago if what they reported was true. None of us, including myself. If it is true that one out of every five people interviewed was a rapist then you are saying that one fifth of the population is rapists. That's totally bloody untrue.
DON WISEMAN: It has been well documented before this report, though, hasn't it, that there is a significant problem with domestic abuse, with sexual violence in Bougainville and that this got significantly worse during and after the civil war.
JM: Before the civil war there was very little. Bougainville is probably one of the safest places for women to walk around. There are white women running around in Buka after dark. That's something you can't find in Port Moresby or Lae or many parts of the world. So the report is totally biased.
DW: But to come back to that point about their being a significant issue with domestic violence, sexual abuse within the province, you can't deny that.
JM: I can't deny categorically that this is so prevalent in Bougainville alone. We have as a result of the war the spill-over effects of women abused by people, teenage pregnancies and that sort of thing, but to claim that one fifth of the population commits rape is totally untrue. Because we have never heard of it, the fact that one fifth of my community is rapists.
DW: All right. You've asked the UN to do what in terms of this, to withdraw the report?
JM: To withdraw the report and apologise, and we are saying if you want you could repeat the study. And I suspect it's been promoted by a lot of the sponsors. I've got nothing against gender equality and doing something about gender violence, but to say that this prevalence of misuse by men in Bougainville is not true. An unacceptable level of teenage pregnancies - yes, that's true. This is something that has been perpetrated during the crisis, but nowhere near the scale that has been said to be the case in the report.
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