Monday, April 22, 2013

American recounts horrific gang rape at the hands of 9 armed men in rural Papua New Guinea

The woman, her husband and a guide were ambushed and left alone on Karkar Island, hours away from the nearest village.


The victim of the brutal attack, who was researching birds and climate change, wants her story to empower the women of Papua New Guinea to stand up against violence.

-Ness Kerton/AFP

A brutal gang rape at the hands of nine armed men in Papua New Guinea has the American victim speaking out about violence against women in the Pacific country.
It's the latest in a string of horrific violent crimes this year in the country, most of them targeting women accused of "sorcery" and burned alive for their "crimes."
On Friday, the 32-year-old victim was researching birds in a remote forest on Karkar Island when she, her husband and a guide were ambushed by nine men wielding rifles and knives. They tied up the two men and stripped them naked, then bound the woman's hands and gang-raped her for 20 minutes. The men completed the atrocity by hacking off her blond hair with a knife, leaving the group tied up alone hours away from the nearest village.
"This story should not come out because I am white," the woman, who was on her fifth visit to Papua New Guinea, told The Telegraph, noting that it is rare for white women to be targeted. "It should come out in hopes that it empowers Papua New Guinean women to stand up and say no more violence against women in this country. I hope my story can make a change."

The group eventually freed itself and found the way to the nearest village. Husband and wife returned Saturday to Port Moresby, the nation's capital, where they filed a report with police and the American embassy. On Sunday, the brave victim spoke publicly about the incident with reporters.
The crime drew a sharp rebuke from Peter O'Neill, the prime minister of Papua New Guinea, who called it the "cowardly act of animals."
"This kind of behavior totally undermines our efforts to make our country a safe destination for investment and tourists," he said. "We cannot allow the entire nation to suffer because of the behavior of one or two sick people."
The heinous crime is similar to an incident from just a week ago, when an Australian was fatally shot at his Mount Hagen home. The 10 armed men then gang-raped his girlfriend.
The country does have a high crime rate, according to a State Department advisory on the nation, though tourists are less frequently attacked.
Native women have also been targeted in "sorcery" incidents. The Telegraph reports a heavy belief of sorcery in the nation, with many of its 7 million people doubting death by natural causes. Near Mount Hagen, a young woman in February was stripped, tied up and burned to death after a mob accused her of sorcery in the death of a 6-year-old boy.
So common are such attacks that the nation has a controversial Sorcery Act on the books to protect those who claim their crimes were done to stop sorcery.
Six women were tortured during an Easter sacrifice ceremony, and earlier this month two women accused of sorcery were publicly beheaded.
"I understand that there are limitations with resources, but it's not an adequate excuse for government to say that they can't protect someone's life," said Kate Schuetze, an official from the human rights organization Amnesty International.

1 comment:

  1. It is sad to see a country torn apart by sorcery.