This is Martha

Martha lives in the Eastern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea.

When she was 17, she met an older man. He was a respected figure in the community. After a six-month relationship, Martha eloped with him.

Like many newly married women in PNG, she moved away from her family to live with her new husband in his village.

It was not the beginning of the life she hoped for.

Martha’s Marriage

Martha’s new husband was very violent.

His abuse was so bad that Martha was hospitalized four times.

When she went to the police, they took her back to him. They knew him and respected him.

Martha’s brother-in-laws could see what was happening and wanted to help.

They tried to talk to her husband, but he did not listen.

In fact, the violence became worse.

One day Martha’s husband beat her so badly that she lost consciousness for two days.

When her brother-in law heard about what had happened, he rushed her to hospital.

Martha was too scared to come home from hospital. She was afraid her husband would kill her. She wanted to go home to her family.

Luckily for Martha, her brother-in-law had recently attended a workshop with IWDA partner, Eastern Highlands Family Voice. He knew that they could offer Martha the support she needed as a survivor of violence.

Finding Freedom From Violence

EHFV worked with Martha and her brother-in-law to develop a safety plan for Martha.

Martha returned to her husband’s house with her brother-in-law and packed a small bag before moving to an EHFV safe house for two nights.

The staff at EHFV contacted her parents and arranged for Martha to return home, travelling over land and sea to be reunited with her family in her home village.

Thanks to EHFV, Martha was able to return safely home to her parents in just a week.

Sadly, there are many women like Martha and many of them are not as lucky.

EHFV is one of only a few domestic violence services in Papua New Guinea, a place where more than 2 in 3 women will experience violence in their lifetime. Services like EHFV struggle to keep up with demand.

EHFV offers women like Martha counselling and support and a safe place to stay when they need it most.

But as well as responding to gender based violence, EHFV is working tirelessly to eliminate it. They travel to many communities to raise awareness about women’s right to safety.

They also work with local leaders and police in the community to make sure the right interventions are available to women and children escaping gender-based violence.

But they, along with other IWDA partners, need your support to continue their important work.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to help women find freedom from violence.