Catholic Church not helping women by focussing on sorcery

 The Catholic Church has long been fighting sorcery in Papua New Guinea.

An Auckland academic says the real issue with violence against women in Papua New Guinea is not sorcery, but gender inequality.

Evangelina Papoutsaki  says unequal gender relations which are the result of the post-colonial times and Christianity, are being used to justify violence against women.

Father Franco Zocca said earlier this year that only scientific enlightenment and a massive education effort could help overcome sorcery beliefs in the region.

But Papoutsaki does not believe the Catholic Church is helping women in the country by focussing on sorcery.

“It’s nonsense that the Catholic Church declares war on witchcraft and sorcery. They should fight for equal treatment for women and gender equality,” she says.

“They shouldn’t attack the end result. The issue is not witchcraft, they are approaching it from the wrong perspective.”

”Christianity comes in with a different belief system and sits on top of another society with different spiritual practices and they both try to struggle to exist together,” she says.

“Nowadays,” she says, “women need to be ashamed about their body. They need to cover it.”

“All of a sudden women became objects of shame.”

Associate Professor Evangelina Papoutsaki, an academic at Unitec, has worked and lived in Papua New Guinea as a journalism educator.

She has been doing research in Papua New Guinea for 10 years.



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News category: Asia Pacific.

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