International Women’s Day is celebrated across the globe on the 8th of March, last Friday to the likes of you and me. Many countries had events like marches and gatherings, some corporations/business celebrate IWD through some kind of symbolic show of appreciation to their female workers.
Either way, the day is of great importance historically and politically. Women, young or old, have been fighting for equality, ending domestic violence, political rights (and any other stand that will allow women to be treated as equal human beings) for over a hundred years. Obviously not as long as all that in the Pacific.
Pacific women have been at it for a shorter period of time, but no less vehemently. Unfortunately, in recent months I’ve read far too many stories about the exploitation, violation and violent acts committed against women in the Pacific, not to mention around the world. It continues to sadden and disgust me how these things can be done to a fellow human, such heinous things, the thought of which makes your stomach turn.
One such article caught my eye this week. A Russian photographer did a spot on Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat, talking about a series of photos he’s put together documenting the violence against women in Papua New Guinea. Be warned: the photos and stories are graphic and extremely heart breaking. If you have a delicate stomach do not click that link. However, it is an article that needs to be shared, these photos must be seen, stories must be heard, or else these women will be lost forever.
I lived in PNG for almost 7 years, I went to high school there. It will always have a special place in my heart, almost like a second home. But the place is insanity come to life. Anarchy and chaos live in the streets and are a part of everyday life. It is a dangerous and almost lawless place, but there are people there with hearts of gold. I know people there who are trying to instill change, trying and have no misconceptions that they will ever be around when this change comes to bear.
This is the bittersweet reality of living in the Pacific. Global love of our tropical islands have brought people, technology and money to our developing shores with no regard for what these will be used for. The good and bad of this exposure can be debated till the cows come home, the fact remains that there is a desperate need for everyone in the world to stop acting crazy and quit the bloodlust.
Open the mind. Spread the word. Keep talking.