Dear Secretary of the State, Hillary Clinton,
First of all thank you for your visit to our country Papua New Guinea and meeting with the women during your time in PNG. Thank you also for the follow-up news that has been circulating after your visit to East Asia Pacific for the new initiative that will take place:
"United States and Australia will collaborate with the World Bank Group to co-host a policy dialogue in Australia in 2011 on effective means to combat gender-based violence and promote women’s empowerment in the Pacific region."
Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer Announces New Initiative to Strengthen Women's Empowerment in the Pacific in Partnership with the World Bank Group and the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea
Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC November 8, 2010
In follow-up to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recent travel to East Asia and the Pacific, and as part of the U.S. strategy to deepen investment in women in the region, Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer has announced the new “Women’s Empowerment Initiative in the Pacific Region” in collaboration with the World Bank Group and the governments of Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
This initiative will comprise several new partnerships to identify opportunities for developing more effective programs and policy recommendations to support women’s advancement in the Asia Pacific region, including the following:
1) The governments of the United States and Australia will collaborate with the World Bank Group to co-host a policy dialogue in Australia in 2011 on effective means to combat gender-based violence and promote women’s empowerment in the Pacific region. In addition, Australia and the United States will collaborate closely with Papua New Guinea on an integrated approach to combating violence against women and HIV/AIDS. Australia will contribute up to $3 million over the next 5 years to support this initiative. The United States will step up the fight against HIV by doubling its contribution to fight HIV/AIDS in PNG next year, subject to Congressional approval. .....
Not always do we read in the newspapers about domestic violence, and if we do, it would only be one that resulted in death. Yet in our neighbourhoods, in our homes, we see it happening but we don't say anything. Everyone says - don't bother, it's a family issue. Why should we stop them? That's not our problem - that's a marriage issue. We hear children cry, the beating and slapping of a mother, her screams, yet we do nothing. Children watch while their mother gets beat up, yet we do nothing. It's not our problem. The mother hides in fear, in shame - it is not anyone's problem but my own. A week goes past and things go back to normal, everyone seems happy but the pain that the mother feels lingers, the children live with fear and grow up thinking that violence is acceptable behaviour. Women in our society need to be informed, they need to be told that it is not right to be beat up, they need to know what they can do if and when situation arises, where to go, who to turn to, their rights. At the moment all this is still not clear, and we all just allow it to happen. In our society, marriage by traditional means, involves payment of a wife - bride price - some take it as ownership of the woman, ownership where they can do anything to the woman. This is one mentatility that needs to be changed, this is one tradition that needs to be done away with. It begins in the home, it begins with each one of us. How can our children grow up to be non-violent, have respect for women and people, when we, parents fail in our duty to stop, to prevent all forms of Gender Violence. YES WE CAN! we can bring change, we can bring peace and harmony to our families, to our communities, to our world. We look to you now Mr President to pass the act to show that Yes we can! We can stop Gender Violence.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to The International Violence Against Women Act.