I am saddened by this story still, because I think we are beginning to blame the victim now. Remember these Port Moresby highways were constructed by the Japanese without sidewalks or overpass bridges, and at a time when there were that many more pedestrians in Port Moresby than even now. I certainly remember driving my Toyota Starlite, the Porsche of biscuit box cars, over these road and having to screech brake as pedestrians crossed without warning. That's the nature of driving in the developing world. Maybe the security company should have told the expatriates that too, before instructing them to never stop, keep on driving.
The ANZ flew out the woman and her family today, as per the white flight protocol of every emergency here. And yes, I do feel sorry for the poor woman driver. But I say again that the wife of an ANZ bank manager in POM would live in a very secure compound where the idea of this distraught Central of Gulf (?) mother pictured in the paper corralling a mob to break down the razor wire and seek bloody revenge...is ridiculous. She is right not to have stopped at the scene, because that is where bloodlust is always sought. I would do the same. But I would stay in the country.
You can tsk tsk me, but this is what I did when a gang of raskals kidnapped me in the middle of Nebilyer War in My Hagen in 1993. I was taken with two other expats, both brave men who saved my life but couldn't prevent me from being raped. Every expatriate in town was deeply sympathetic at first, but aghast that I didn't leave on the next flight. Eventually they blamed me for being 'feral' and asking for it, as Id been living with Hagen people (as an anthropologist). The police blotter never reported the incident, out of courtesy to my white missus' sensibility. When a reporter tried to file a story about it for the Pst-Courier, the editor said it was too depressing for the Christmas season.
The week before Id been taken an expat telikom Manager was killed by raskals at his gate, in front of his horrified children. Naturally his family left right away, and by no fault of their own the culprits were not caught for some time afterwards. Some may have been involved in my kidnapping too. I learned very quickly how people blame the victim all over PNG, She asked for it. The mother in yesterday's incident allowed her child to run free!! This is like finding a sorcery 'blong peles' explanation to cover for a lack of medical services. Shoot the easy target.
Plenty of Hagen friends found me politically dangerous after my incident. Others were important for teaching me not to personalize such an event---it happens to everyone. No one, nowhere, saw the situation in a feminist light---encouraging me to stand up against the men who did this. People generally told me I was stirring up more trouble to take them to court. My police caseworker charged the culprits with robbery and forgot the rape charge, until I reminded him.
When the kids were convicted, the court failed to follow through and they were never imprisoned, so the gang set off to rape and murder again. No surprise. But I has good friends too. Joe Leahy put me up in one of his flats. Clem Leahy---a member of the gang's own clan--was a staunch supporter. Another clansman of the accused worked hard to bring in evidence for me. They taught me a lot about bravery. But what I would say about this strange protocol we maintain, something between sexism and white privilege, whereby the White Missus is allowed to flee, be protected, get the vapours if you will, while the shyte hits the fan.
The poor woman from yesterday was not the villain, nor is her leaving in any way supporting another's villain. But we need to stop supporting a double standard, stop demonizing the victims, stop letting people who genuinely have nothing to fear get away with running away---because Papua New Guineans deserve justice as much as the expats who work here with them. All you people commenting on the irresponsibility of this poor mother need to take a breath and ask why you’ve absolved the Missus, you blame the Mother. You are the same people who would have snickered at Kepari Leniata if she flirted with your husband, but jumped right up on that humanitarian bandwagon when it came round with media attention and rivers of sympathy for ‘all PNG women.’ We are too often our own worst enemies, siding with the powers that be---even white women—when it seems expedient.