Helping women rebuild their lives in Papua New Guinea

Ruth is a survivor of abuse

Papua New Guinea is one of the worst countries in the world to be a woman, according to statistics from the United Nations Development Programme. Two out of three women have experienced domestic violence and 50% have experienced forced sex.

Oxfam works with 12 local organisations in PNG to support women in nine provinces. Oxfam supporters are helping give women and children a safe place to heal and to begin rebuilding their lives. That's women like Ruth.

A safe place to heal and rebuild

At 18 years old, Ruth is a survivor of abuse.

After her mum died she lived with her aunty and uncle where she was abused by her uncle for six years.

“Physically, and…almost sexually molested. I ran away from him.” said Ruth.

Unable to go back home, Ruth found refuge at Lifeline, an Oxfam partner, where she was offered counselling and accomodation. At the time of this interview, she’d been sleeping at Lifeline for two months.

“The staff are really nice … they ask us every day how are we doing. And usually we tell them how we are feeling. And they give us more encouragement, they counsel us.” said Ruth.

Since reporting the abuse to police and spending time with counsellors at Lifeline, Ruth’s confidence has increased.

“I feel more comfortable living here. I feel like I have no problems anymore.”

When we asked Ruth what her advice was to other young women in a similar position, she said it was possible for anyone to be free of the fear that comes with violence and abuse.

“…it’s like a sword inside us. And you can’t tell anybody. And it will grow inside you until it explodes or something. And you can even die, or you can commit suicide.

“I want to tell them that they can come out, from that fear, and that violence and abuse. They can come out. They can stand on their feet and they can tell … they can go to the law, or to the police, or to people like Lifeline and get counselling.”

We support work around the world to help women overcome the discrimination they face, and realise their basic rights.

Thanks to Oxfam supporters:

  • thousands more women can now access emergency shelter, legal support and counselling;
  • more women will be encouraged to build their economic independence so they can walk away from violent relationships;
  • work is underway to break the cycle of violence by carrying out behaviour change programmes with men and boys.

Read more about our work in Papua New Guinea