Family Life Apostolate focusing on domestic violence
By Bro. Martin Tnines SVD & Sr. Gabriela Burgos SSpS. The PNG National Catholic Family Life Apostolate (NCFLA) is focusing on creating awareness and response to domestic violence.
Forty family life core group members and representatives of twelve parishes in Kimbe attended a five-day workshop on the subject in March. Bro. Martin Tnines from the Melanesian Institute and Sr. Gabriella Burgos from NCFLA were the facilitators.
Sexual abuse, wife beating, adultery, forced marriage, offensive language, teenage pregnancy, and fear of sexual assault for woman and girls who walk at night were frequently mentioned throughout the personal sharing and group discussions. The participants attributed these violent acts to alcohol and marijuana abuse, unemployment, abuse of authority and trust, ineffective communication between husband and wife, lack of family planning, poor upbringing and lack of spiritual formation for families...
The participants also identified ways of coping with violence in the family, the community and the Church: counseling, discipline, religious formation for families, involvement in religious activities, reconciliation and forgiveness, proper financial management, enhancing good communication between husband and wife, proper family planning and education for children…
A few days later Bro. Martin and Sr. Gabriella again organized a workshop on “Pastoral & Prophetic Response to Violence in the Family” at Tsirah Conference Centre in Buka in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. There were sixteen participants, some of them young people involved in youth ministry in their parishes and communities.
Participants appreciated inputs and discussions on rights and responsibilities, life and love, abortion, adoption, one’s sexual experience, land disputes, counseling, rape, conflict resolution, marijuana and alcohol abuse, wife-beating, domestic violence, caring for the homeless and jobless, and youth and sexually transmitted diseases.
The participants decided to work together to disseminate information from the workshop. Partnership with existing legal bodies within their communities was also identified as an important strategy in combating gender-based violence and related domestic crimes. (CBC Communications 250512 – firstname.lastname@example.org)