Sexual Aggression in Oceania

Violence against women and children is a development issue in many Pacific islands nations. Pacific islanders are reluctant to report such crimes to the police, preferring to solve problems peaceably by bringing the families of victims and offenders together and exchanging custom money, food, and Christian forgiveness. In the words of one Solomon Islander, "In custom days, a man who played around with a child would be beaten up. Then his tribe would put him into exile. Now, because of Christianity that kind of thinking has changed" (Davies, 1994, p. 98). Whether or not Christianity aids the cover-up of child sex abuse, many women fear coming forward, citing threats from offenders and beatings by husbands and male relatives who wish to avoid prosecution. Drawing on her experience as a Principal Project Officer for the Papua New Guinea Law Commission (1986-1990), running a national program on violence against women, Bradley (1994) argues that "development can be dangerous to women's health." While wife-beating and sexual abuse are not new in Papua New Guinea, she argues that the severity of wife-beating and other violence against women is greater in towns, where alcohol is readily available and women are more dependent on their husbands with fewer avenues of escape or sources of support than village women have. Women's frustrations are captured in Papua New Guinean Mary To Liman's "Bia botol longlong" and Solomon Islander Jully Sipolo's "A man's world" (Sipolo, 1981; To Liman, 1979; Zimmer-Tamakoshi, 1995).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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