May 15th 2013 – A Day of Mourning

All dressed in red they stretched out over 500 meters with the last lot of women trickling behind trying to catch up with the crowd. They were mainly made up of Women over the age of 35, the older ones physically struggling to keep up but you could tell that their mind and soul are set in completing this march for this would be their best chance at standing up, for being heard, to end the suffering and protecting not only their daughters, nieces and granddaughters but the future generation of all Females in Papua New Guinea.

They marched in the scorching heat and yelled out “enough is enough” and “Stop Violence against women” till they reached their final destination. There they spread out under a canvas and waited eagerly to sign the petition to the Government to end all forms of violence against women. It was a historical moment. The first of its kind in our young nation and the name given to it “National Haus Karai” (National Day of Mourning) was very fitting. There I saw some mothers weep quietly to themselves, it broke my heart just watching it, I wondered what secrets they were keeping and for how long or what terrible thing had happened to her or someone she loved. They held hands and sang songs of praise, hearts wide open and exposed praying out loud their deepest worries hoping to be heard. I heard them and it was like I knew their prayers off by heart because I have heard it many many times before. It was a prayer for change, for understanding, a prayer to end the suffering felt by many women, to stop the abuse and bring back love and caring to those who had strayed from the path…….

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