Tahina's Story

Trigger Warning: This account includes references to sexual violence that may be distressing for some readers.

In Papua New Guinea, the grim statistics on gender-based violence are not merely numbers; they embody a profound and pervasive crisis. By the age of 15, two out of every three women will have experienced some form of domestic or sexual violence, and astonishingly, every woman is likely to face violence at some point in her lifetime. These statistics are a sobering reminder of the systemic nature of this issue, an issue that also marks a chapter in my own life story.

My personal journey into this narrative began in childhood. At the age of 7, I was raped by someone I knew, a harrowing experience that is all too common and indicative of a broader societal failure. This event led me to ponder deeply troubling questions about the societal norms that shape male behavior. Why do some boys grow into men who perpetrate such violence against women and girls, often those within their own communities? How can it be that men, who possess the capacity for positive influence, remain on the sidelines of this critical battle against gender-based violence?

However, amidst this complex web of societal challenges, I see hope through a simple yet profound solution: sports. In Papua New Guinea, sports are a linchpin of community life, a source of joy, unity, and shared purpose. It is through this universal language of sports that we find a unique avenue for engaging men and boys in the conversation on gender justice. Our initiatives, such as the Gymbox, 10 Million Strong Leadership program and Hevea Cup & Wellness Expo, are not just activities; they are educational platforms. These programs are designed to empower participants about crucial issues like gender equality, leadership, health, and wellbeing from a young age. Our aim is to challenge and change the entrenched norms that perpetuate violence, fostering a culture that upholds gender equity and respect.