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Mary Benny, “My husband is a policeman… he shot at me twice”

According to Amnesty International, almost all women, like this one, in some districts of Papua New Guinea's highlands have been hit by their partners
(Alisa Tang/IRIN)

According to Amnesty International, two-thirds of the women in Papua New Guinea have been hit by their partners; in parts of the densely populated rugged provinces that comprise the Highlands, that figure swells to nearly 100 percent.

Mary Benny* and her three children have moved into her mother’s home, from where she spoke to IRIN. She asked that her name and location not be published because she fears for her life: her husband beats her with impunity.

“My husband is a policeman, and he’s an alcoholic. He’s a good father. He gives us money, but he’s always violent. After I gave birth to my first daughter, he started to beat me.

“I’ve been to the hospital many, many times with a swollen face, a black eye, a bloody nose. This scar on my arm is from when he used a sharp piece of iron and stabbed me. Once he threw a stone at my head. I had to get six stitches. When he gets very angry at me, he beats my children, too.

“Many times, he has pointed his gun at me. He shot at me twice, at the floor, just next to my foot. I just stood there crying. There was no one to protect me. Other policemen came, punched the door in and stopped the fight, but my husband wasn’t arrested.

“Recently he has been going for mobile operations in other provinces, and he has been with other ladies. I’ve been tested three times for HIV – so far it has been negative.

“I always live in fear. He tells me he will kill me if I tell anyone. With other people, the police would make an arrest, but they won’t do that to their comrades.

“I told his bosses last year [2009], but they didn’t do anything, so in April, I went to [an organization that helps victims of domestic violence] and to the public solicitor’s office here – after 10 years of this. Now it’s too much for me, so I had to tell someone about my problems.

“When it comes to husband and wife relations, men in Papua New Guinea are not good. When we are young, it’s happy, like sugar. Then after a child or two, it becomes bitter.”

* Not her real name.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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