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The much anticipated rugby league match has come and gone and it’s time to consider and assess how much of an impact this match is having on the purpose it is supposed to serve.
Yes, we’re talking about domestic violence which seems to be the targeted social issue behind the annual clash between Papua New Guinea and Australia. There have already been a handful of matches all directed to combat this social ill but exactly in what way has it had an impact and by how much is a question we want answers for.
For a start, the initiative is a fantastic one. Papua New Guineans love rugby league. They are crazy about it. You just have to be at the airport and the stadium to see how passionate Papua New Guineans have for this game introduced in the colonial era.
And secondly, this male dominated sport both from a playing and a supporters base presents an ideal opportunity to deal openly with domestic violence issues. After all, much of the victims of domestic violence are women. Not to say that men aren’t victims of domestic violence but the majority of cases tend to show that women are on the receiving end for many reported cases.
The star studded Australian team arrived at Port Moresby’s Jackson’s airport on Thursday and were treated like rock stars. Those at the airport went absolutely mad as they saw their rugby league heroes walk through the international airport terminal. Was there anything said or done by the stars during their arrival to the parochial crowd at the airport as to the real reason why they were here other than to play footy? Unlikely.
Perhaps there was something done during the game that might have sent out a message about domestic violence but that is unlikely to be enough. Regardless of whether something was done to sound out the message, the crowd would have been so overwhelmed to see their favourite players, domestic violence would have been the last of their thoughts. It was more a case of how close they could get to the players.
Perhaps the lead up would have been the ideal opportunity. But, there was no sign of a domestic violence sign on media releases like the one below.
Australian PM’s XIII captain, Greg Inglis and coach, Mal Meninga, Papua New Guinea PM’s XIII captain Bernard Goma and coach Michael Marum pic.twitter.com/PRDuoezz7O
— Digicel PNG (@DigicelPNG) September 22, 2016
The difficulty of obtaining statistical data about domestic violence and the impact this annual match has on this social ill is concerning. Is the match serving its purpose? And if it’s not, should it continue? And if it continues, should it just be treated for entertainment purposes and nothing more?
If the organizers seriously want to make a positive impact on domestic violence through this match, they’re going to have to do a little more than the two or three days the stars are here. They will need to organize programs dedicated towards addressing issues of domestic violence to the crowd that is expected to buy tickets for the match.
The initiative is a golden opportunity to address an important issue that concerns many Papua New Guineans. How many women who have been on the receiving end of domestic violence value this match? Valueing in the sense that it has helped address the issue.
If you have any statistical data about domestic violence and how much this match contributes to addressing this issue, please email it to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.