World’s Most Dangerous Cities: Port Moresby (PNG) BBC Stories
This scene’s a little bit tense. Tell me a bit about this man. He was punching me with his fist
and he broke my ears. The green house, we’ll go in. How many times do you
think he raped you? Almost all my life. What type of people do you
usually target? Go! INDISTINCT I’d arrived in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, 100
miles off Australia’s northern tip. This place is regularly voted the
worst place in the world to live. With one of the highest rape and
sexual violence rates in the world, perpetrators are rarely prosecuted. But some victims are taking a stand. Leah, can we go? HE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE Leah has taken action to put a
restraining order against her
husband. He’s basically been abusing her
for seven or so years. Hopefully, this is the end for you. Yeah, to end violence. Tell me a bit about this man. Two weeks before I went
into my labour, he beat me at my workplace. How badly? I had black eyes. He was punching me with his fist and
it broke my ears. I had bleed…er, with my eyes there
was a blood clot formed on this side of my eye. Now it’s time to show him that this
is not OK, and today is the day. I don’t want my children to grow
in this violent life. I’ve got to end the violence now. And I’ve got to tell my son and
daughter that violence against women is not acceptable. The green house, we’ll go in.
That’s the uncle’s house. Does he know we’re coming? It’s going to be a surprise. There’s a lot of his family around
here, and I’m guessing they’re not going to be very happy, so I don’t
know where this is going to go. That’s his mum? Yeah. Hello, come. Leah’s husband isn’t at home. But his mother can legally sign the
restraining order on his behalf. It must be very difficult to have
to do this. Yes, it is. But I’ve
got to do it. I… Yeah. Well done.
Well done for being strong. I have tears in my eyes. It shows you how difficult it is to
do something like this. You know, this is this lady’s
family. She’s got kids with this guy. And you have to basically go up
against people you’ve known for
years. What do you think of her bringing
the police here? As a female, I think it’s good. It’s good that she’s…?
Yeah, it’s good. The majority of the men,
they have this mentality where they think women must be just right
underneath their feet. Like Leah, two out of three women
here will suffer abuse or violence in
their lifetime. How big is the problem? How many cases have you
seen this year? From January to May,
we had about 6,000. And those cases are the ones
that are reported. And…and unreported, try and
imagine. Why are so many women being abused? How can I put it?
It’s a normal thing. To any man in Papua New Guinea,
it’s a normal. To hit your girlfriend, your
partner, your girlfriend, your wife? Yes. I’ve been told that some of the
worst perpetrators are the
Raskols here. That’s the local name for
criminals or gangs. And I’ve been told that quite often,
they use rape as gang initiation for new members. They’ve agreed to meet me,
hopefully. There’s about seven guys there,
all considerably larger than me. Let’s meet the Raskols. These are the leaders of
the 13 Casino Raskol gang. They’re notorious for
robbing and raping, and amazingly, they don’t care about
showing their faces on camera. So is this where we’re…we’re
speaking inside? Yes, yes. OK. This is the way. We’re going to
wait there. To win their trust,
I have to try betel nut, a psychoactive drug used all over
Papua New Guinea. Chew the whole thing? Yeah. It doesn’t necessarily taste very
nice. As you chew, you just spit it out.
Oh, it’s red. It’s red. I’ve just got to say, I am most
definitely feeling different. Sweating quite a lot.Yes.Yes.Yes. What is that? It’s um…yeah, yeah,
yeah. It’s quite… First time. How long does it usually last for? That is the cutest gun pouch
I’ve ever seen. That is very small. So is this literally, just a…it’s
a piece of pipe? Yes. It’s just a
piece of pipe. Has everyone here taken a life? With the betel nut coursing
through me, I was feeling brave enough to ask some tricky questions. I heard that some gangs in
Papua New Guinea, as an initiation thing, you… Some young men have to have sex
with a woman, kind of, like, rape a woman.
Have you heard of this?Yeah, yeah.How normal is that? Yes. Is that necessary?
Do you have to do that? It’s quite hard to get my
head around. I’ve been told that in
Papua New Guinea it’s reasonably common to
occasionally belt your wife to make
sure she’s… Have you belted your wife before? What is a belting? Like punch? Have you actually shot her
in the leg? Really? I mean, do you, do you, do you love
your wives? You mustn’t love her. If you kind of love your wife,
why would you belt her? Do you feel like you’re bad people? Carjacking is their biggest
money-maker. What type of people do you
usually target? Hello. I’m Ben. Very nice
to meet you. Are you the victim today?
Are you the car driver? Yeah. All right. Fantastic.
Are you excited? I’ll try! All right. Shall we…? I’ll follow you guys, follow
your lead. So they’re demonstrating to me
how they rob women, who they consider very easy
targets, of their cars. We have a gunman, we have a machete
wielder and then we have a driver. I mean, it’s all fun and games now, but it’s absolutely terrifying
if you’re involved in something like this, and it could end up with
you losing your life very easily. Is this the car?Yes.
The car’s coming. That’s the car. Go, go, go, go, go! Come on, out, out!Shock!That is quite… OK, I’m really shocked. Are you OK? It’s really shocking, honestly.
It’s really shocking. Quite scared?
Yeah, it’s really, like, real. They said that they target women,
like, exclusively. Have you had something like
this happen to you? Yeah. Yeah, I did,
before, once when I was driving. Is it scary being a lady in
Papua New Guinea, cos things like this happen?
Yes. Yes, it is. That was pretty terrifying.
Yeah, yeah, that was so fast. Yeah. When we get a
vehicle, we don’t waste time. Come here, Alex. Come here, Alex. Yeah, I mean, that was quite
the experience. You know, it’s all about being
strong, being in control. If your wife doesn’t listen to you,
you punch her in the face, otherwise you’re not a man,
and that is depressing. In the face of so much
male violence, it felt like women in Port Moresby
were constantly under threat. But there is help. Safe houses have
been set up around the city, where women can seek refuge
from abuse. I was meeting Susan. She’s been staying at this safe
house for the last two months. Does it make you sad, so many
women go through the same thing? Yeah, so many. Most all of the
Papua New Guinea women. You honestly think it’s
nearly all women? Yeah, because most of them,
you know, just staying there. They don’t come out,
they just stay there. How long was he abusive for? Er, we’ve been married since 2000 and then, all these years through
to 2018, he’s been abusing me. What exactly was he doing to you? He just cut my hand, see here. Really? Yeah. 35 stitch. So he slashed it? Yeah. One time he chased me, and I ran.
I jump off the window. This leg has been broken,
this one came at the back, and the heel went through the front. Like it’s turning around,
full revolution. How many times do you
think he raped you? Almost all my life. Almost all my life.
Since we’ve got married. Did his family ever say
anything to him, to stop him? No, they are afraid of him. Everyone’s afraid of him. If they want to say something,
he would just get up and say, “Shut up, don’t talk!
That’s my property!” He’d actually say,
“That’s my property,” about you?
Yeah, as if he owns it, yeah. He sounds like a devil. Yeah. And it seems that one of the
problems is that it’s culture, because people use it as an excuse. Yeah, yeah, yeah. When you’re
talking about culture and customs, most of the women are
hurting themself. Like they are in a cage, you see.
There’s nobody to help them out. What are you planning to do
now that you’re at the safe house? Going back to my village.
Stay with my parents. Find a decent job,
look after my kids and just live a normal life
like everybody. A free life, free from violence,
and abuse and all these things. I really hope…
Yeah, I really hope that you get it. I hope so. This is one of our clients.
She is 69 years old. Very nice to meet you. Yeah, so she’s Marissa. Because she’s 69 years old –
safe house, we don’t keep women over that age.
It’s not a nursing home. It’s not an old people’s home.
So we can’t keep her. And so I’ve explained all of that
to her, Marissa, so she’s leaving today. She had her son-in-law.
Her son-in-law was really violent, just physically abusing her. Beating her up, so…yeah. Do you know why?
Why was he doing it? He wanted to have sex with you?
Yeah. Not only having sex with her – he’s abusing her every day,
belting her up, yeah. Are you scared? Is he looking for you now? Yeah. Were you saying that
he was abusive not just to you but to other members of the family? And he was abusive to everyone? Thank you so much for talking to us.
Really helpful. They’re taking her to
a safe place today. All right. Yeah, I don’t really know how to
react to this. It feels like they’re kind of
sending this old woman to her death. She’s terrified of this guy,
who’s not only been torturing her, but he’s been torturing the rest
of her family, as well. And here lies the problem, is that
these safe houses can protect women for so long, but there is
always a point that they are going to have to go back and in this case,
she is literally going back to hell. It was only five years ago that
Papua New Guinea passed the Family Protection Act,
making family violence a crime, punishable by up to two years in
prison or a fine of US2,000. It’s given hope to women like Janet. Her husband allegedly beat her three
days ago, giving her a black eye, so she fled her home. Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Ben.
I’m Janet.Er, Janet. This is one of our
complainants.Yeah. Men is always the head of
everything, he makes the decisions, he takes,
you know… He’s in control of the economy of the family, and
everything else. So he decides for the family. So this is the culture that we have
in Papua New Guinea. It’s very strong. It’s been inherited from generation
to generation to generation. Quite shocking, you know,
isn’t it? It says, “My husband was punching my head so
many times.” How often was he doing this? It’s been four years now. Every day, we never rest. Hearing the police were after him,
Janet’s husband arrives. So this guy behind me
is Janet’s husband. He’s turned up to the
police station. I was speaking with Janet,
and she was saying you’ve been quite physical to her.
Violent. Because she has a black eye. When you say attitude problem, do you just mean she doesn’t do
entirely what you want her to do? Er…yeah. That’s how you treat, like, a dog,
if you’re a bad owner. She’s, like, a human being,
isn’t she, you know what I mean? Cos maybe she doesn’t want do what
you say. That’s what I don’t get. I understand you’re a man.Yeah.
Does it really matter? OK. I’m giving him an
opportunity to talk. What are you angriest about? INDISTINCT No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! I didn’t assault her. Janet’s husband is charged with
domestic violence and is facing a weekend in the city jail,
until he can make bail on Monday. The horrible thing is that Janet
still has kids with this guy. He’s going to have to be in her
life to some degree. That’s clearly what she’s worried
about, and I can understand it. He is potentially going to
face justice, but a lot of the damage is
already done. She’s already been beaten up.
Her kids have already saw it. And it’s just sad that there
are so many people like this in
Papua New Guinea. Janet later dropped all charges,
when she was reunited with her kids. My time in Port Moresby was coming
to an end, but I still didn’t fully understand how so many men
could treat women like this. My final stop was the biggest jail
in the country – Bomana Prison, on the outskirts of the city. I feel like they’ve let us in to the
most beautiful prison in PNG. It’s pretty well kept. Well, that’s nice! I’m not going to lie – this is not
what I expected when I thought of a prison in Port Moresby. It looks
like a summer camp as opposed to a correctional facility. Very nice to meet you.My name is
John.My name is Benjamin. This is the minimum security and
most presentable side of the prison where juveniles are held. I arrive during the weekly
yoga class, aimed at teaching the
inmates new skills. Where does the yoga take place? Is
those guys…? Over there. That’s a lot of people, isn’t it? As most of them are under 18, we weren’t allowed to show their
faces on camera, but I wanted to know what they were
in for. So you’ve got sodomy, suspected
of rape, suspected of rape, suspected of rape. That’s right. Murder. Rape. Stealing. Murder.
Stealing. Rape. Rape. Penetration. Marijuana. Rape. Wow, that’s quite a lot of people,
isn’t it? Yep. Do you know the ages of the people
convicted of rape? Oh, yes. How old are they? 13? 13, yes. That’s so depressing. How long can you actually get in
jail for raping somebody? Two years? OK.Two years.
That’s really short, isn’t it? If you’re wondering how common
rape is here, out of the 27 juveniles that they’ve got in
this correctional facility, 12 of them are being accused of some
form of rape and the youngest one is
13 years old. And that is just insane. It seemed like the culture of abuse
and violence against women was getting handed down from
generation to generation. On the other side of the prison was
the maximum security section. The guards had an inmate they
wanted me to meet. I imagine it’s going to be a not
very nice conversation. How you doing? I’m Ben. This is Ruben, and he’s been
sentenced to 12 years in jail. Can you tell me are you here for? So she was ten. How old were you? That is definitely rape, isn’t it? You know, she can’t consent if she’s
ten years old. Yeah. It… Yeah. You are a rapist. What do you think rape is? Um, I mean, it is rape, because
she’s 10. You’re 40 years old. She’s a child, you’re an adult. She doesn’t even know what
she’s doing. You’ve done something very wrong. You’ve probably ruined a
ten-year-old girl’s life. I’ve been here for a few days
at this point, and I am massively overwhelmed. Pretty much every single woman I’ve
spoken to has got a story of being beaten or raped. I’ve spoken to so many men who think
that raping women is OK, beating women is OK, and this just
takes it to another level. It just seems that there needs
to be education on what is acceptable and how to treat women. And more people like that need to be
sent down for a very long time.