I couldn’t help eavesdropping on a phone call by a friend sitting next to me – well it wasn’t exactly eavesdropping.
This is Dixie Hoffmann, an ordinary mother of 5 young men living in Goroka. She had been away from home when the incident happened.
Her second son had hit his uncle’s wife. “Hey you know what you did? You hit a woman. And the police will be on you,” she told the son. “You had no right hitting your uncle’s wife,” she continued.
The next day the son called from Goroka police station. He had been arrested. His elder brother went along with him.
Dixie turned around to me and said, “he’s my son but he hit a woman. I will not allow it in my family.” This humble woman believes change starts with her. She admits it is not easy but, “if we cultivate a culture of respect and put value into it, we will see a better community and a better Papua New Guinea. We cannot let violence dictate the norms in our lives.”
Women bashing and other violence against women have become a real problem in many parts of Papua New Guinea and women in the Eastern Highlands would not stand by and let this go ahead. They have worked hard to help the police realise how important it is to stop these violences.
Dixie is an example of these efforts. She has stepped up and is inviting all mothers in Papua New Guinea to educate their sons to respect women at home.