Sunday, October 13, 2013

Living in Fear

A woman comes in to my clinic room complaining of elbow pain.  I look at her arm, which is obviously deformed, and wonder what happened.  She tells me her husband beat her 2 months ago, but she didn't have money to come in until now.  The xray revealed that this wasn't the first time her arm had been broken.  Later she told me that her husband beat her a couple of years back, hurting the same arm, but she didn't have money then, so she didn't go to a doctor.

I wish this was the first story I ever heard about domestic violence.  I wish this women's story wasn't similar to so many other's I have heard.  Occasionally the victims are the men, but 90% of the time, the victims are the women.  It is very common to have women come in with broken bones, black eyes, or rib fractures.  I've seen women stabbed and chopped, some even killed.  I 've seen ruptured spleens and unborn babies who have had their lives taken during these episodes of abuse.  
I see someone who has been the victim of domestic abuse just about everyday.  There are so many aspects of this culture that I don't understand, and domestic violence is sure one of them.  I know that paying for the bride, in a bride price, is one of the reasons many women continue to stay in the relationship with abusive husbands.  If she leaves, her family is responsible to pay back the money they got from his family, and they don't have it.  There is court, but most of these cases are settled in village court, which means maybe the husband will pay a little compensation to the wive's family, but that is about all that happens.

The country of PNG is starting to wake up to the wrong of domestic violence, but they need to continue enforce the laws and bring the accused to justice.  Pray for the women of this country who live in fear of their husbands.