The murder of a PNG woman sparks national outcry over domestic violence



November 30, 2018 15:57:32

Grace Gavera was just 26 years old when she was brutally murdered.

Key points:

  • The Port Moresby woman was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, Andy Paro
  • Ms Gavera’s death has sparked national outrage over violence against women in PNG
  • The National Research Institute says PNG struggles to enforce domestic violence laws

The young woman from Port Moresby has become the latest face of the endemic problem of domestic violence in Papua New Guinea.

Her death, allegedly at the hands of her partner, has sparked national outrage and left her father, Bau Sabadi, devastated.

He had to identify her body.

“My heart was broken, because she was my first-born daughter,” he said.

“Seeing her lying there with bruises, those stitches on her body, it was very hard for me to take it.

“I just walked out and was standing out there — I didn’t know what to say, what to do. I was lost.”

In the days after her death pictures of Grace Gavera were shared across social media in PNG and her story was on the front page of one of the major newspapers with the words “stop violence against women”.

Her boyfriend of two years, Andy Paro, has now been arrested over her murder.

In a statement, police outlined what they believe the last moments of her life were.

“According to [her] landlord, Andy Paro came at around 2am and began arguing with her and allegedly started beating her,” the statement said.

“She was rushed to Port Moresby General Hospital.

“However, the suspect allegedly followed her there and took her out of the hospital where he allegedly continued to assault her until she died.”

‘We’ve allowed violence to go with impunity’

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop joined the chorus of people lamenting the young woman’s death, which he described as senseless.

“We all should be ashamed, but most of all we should be angry that it should be allowed to happen in this time and age,” he said.

Mr Parkop said not enough was being done. He added that he would meet with police next week.

“Part of our problem in our country and in our city is that we’ve allowed violence to go with impunity,” he said.

“When we allow the lowest form of violence to continue in becomes extreme.

“We give allowance for this kind of extreme level of violence to happen.”

However, the Governor did not announce any new measures or funding to combat the issue of domestic violence.

He said he would like to see a plan from police.

“I’ve been governor for 11 years, every time, every year we have a change in the metropolitan superintendent, I’ve asked them for a strategy plan, up to now I haven’t seen one.”

More than two thirds of women in Papua New Guinea have experienced family violence.

Fiona Hukulu from the National Research Institute said there was a problem with enforcement of laws.

“We’ve got the policies, we’ve got the laws, we’ve got the everything, we just don’t have the resources backing it up and the reinforcement in terms of the law, especially the police,” Dr Hukulu said.

Ms Gavera’s father said he wanted her alleged killer jailed for life.

“Justice must take place,” Bau Sabadi said.

“He might do it again, so I want the law to take its full course, give him life.”








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