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Papua New Guinea: Police Cite Bride Price Major Factor in Marital Violence

Publication Date: 
November 21, 2011

PORT MORESBY, PNG --- Bride price is the major contributing factor today that’s why married men feel they can do anything to their wives, a senior Papua New Guinea police officer says. Minj police station commander Horim Piamia said many men regarded their wives as materials they bought from a shop and not as their partners.

Inspector Piamia made the comment last Friday in Minj, in the Jiwaka region of Western Highlands, saying there had been an increase in violence against women in the region. He said the mentality of the people still had not changed and they remained bound by their culture. “Women are still regarded as second class people, with no standing in their communities.” He said if the bride price system was removed, “this will change the mindset of the people and men will start to respect their wives”.

Piamia said women still faced the prospect of violence from their husbands because “they know that bride price was paid to their parents”. He said every citizen was protected by the laws of the country and they had a right to make any decisions concerning their lives. Piamia said as the police station commander he was carrying out awareness and trying to educate the people about the wrongs of violence against women. He said it was a major concern for the region and country. Piamia said in addition police were carrying out awareness to do away with compensation for roads deaths or for those killed in tribal fights.

Piamia said his office had received many reports about violence against women but when they arrested the husbands, they defended themselves by saying they had paid bride price. He said police were often told the fault was with wives and the husbands “decided to teach them a lesson”. He said as a result most husbands walked away free. “It’s time the bride price system is done away with and in any marriage, the parents of the bride and groom must support the new family”. He said paying bride price did not help to strengthen marriage, “instead it causes a lot of problems for the women”.