Wednesday, March 12, 2008

where is the justice in this??

As I type this story, I know, and you must remember, that I am not privy to all aspects of PNG culture, I full far short of understanding their ways. So my interpretation of the events will naturally be coloured by my own western cultural experiences (that’s my attempt at a disclaimer….), and of course the story comes from only one source…
Let me explain – it may be a long story…mmm… You see, this morning Julie (the lady who helps me in the house a few times a week) came. I could tell by her face that something was wrong. Anyway, it came out that she needed a K200 loan. But the story goes back a long way…so I’ll start at the beginning. Last year Julie’s daughter was “taken” by a man. In other words a man, who had seen her walking around a few times decided he wanted her, so when she was walking alone and he was with his boss and another couple of men (thus being obviously stronger than her) he “took” her to his house and made her his wife (firstly in the physical sense and later by some other, more “legal” means). Julie didn’t know where she was first of all, but soon found out that this man had taken her for his wife. She didn’t like it, the daughter didn’t like it, but they were advised by their family to accept it or face the anger of the “husband” and his family/friends, which would probably end in violence.
So this “marriage” went on for a few months. However, this week, Julie decided enough was enough. The “husband” did not care for his wife. He didn’t hit or beat her (which is in a strange way is something to be thankful for in this society), but he gave her very little money, and wasted most of his pay on getting drunk. So Julie sent her daughter back to her village where her (Julie’s) parents will care for her and where she can work in her garden and provide for herself. Anyway, consequently the husband took Julie to the local settlement court (just a small community court) and she was subsequently instructed to pay the husband (her son-in-law) K200 (which is a lot of money in this country), because she sent his wife away. Can you get your mind around that? As she told me the story (about the court decision) this morning I could feel my anger rising at the injustice of it all, but she was just accepting of it. She said the court sympathised with her but suggested the amount to appease the husband, because they were worried that if she didn’t appease him, he would come after her in anger and would harm her (maybe very badly). So that is that. She will pay and continue on with her life. Sadly, all to often, that's just the way it is for many women in PNG. How we need the love of God to work mightily in this land and throughout the whole world!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow that sure is hard to get your head around. It makes us all the more urgent in our prayers for Christ's return, when sin and suffering will be no more.
love, Denise

HH said...

wow nat, that is a hard one. like denise says, it makes more urgent of our prayers. life seems to be so full of injustices, we need Christ's sacrificial blood so very much. let's hope and pray that the gospel may reach many.
thanks for sharing.

Isaac said...

Did this man pay a bride price? Usually when a man marries a woman, he pays her family a price, which can be far greater than K200. The woman is usually expected to work this money off, and it isn't too unusual for a man to expect repayment of some of the money upon the ending of the marriage.

Andrew and Natalie VanderHeide said...

No, I asked that question. He had not paid any bride price at all.