Stories of hope and change

Alena’s story


*Alena is a 36 year old woman with six children who suffered physical, verbal, emotional, financial and sexual abuse from the man she fell in love with. Femili PNG collaborated with police, Welfare and other partners and assisted her with the help she needed.

Her story

Life was good for Alena (*not her real name) and her husband before their children came along. They shared everything, and he was supportive of Alena until she gave birth to their second child. That is when everything started to change. Her husband’s behavior changed, he became violent. Alena observed and followed her husband’s usual routine; eventually she discovered that her husband was having an extra-marital affair. Alena confronted him but he continued in having extra marital affair.

Alena without much option, continued to live in an abusive marriage and gave birth to their sixth child. The husband continue to spend time with his mistress whom he considered as his “new wife”. After the birth, Alena went home and found the husband sleeping with the mistress, argument occurred and resulted to Alena being badly beaten and was rushed to the nearest clinic for immediate medical care.

In December 2021, Alena and her husband moved back to her husband’s province in the highlands. Alena being a homemaker, she was entirely dependent on her husband for financial support but hardly provided for her and her children’s basic needs. He control and manage their finances, ensuring that she and her children have no access to funds and not able to ran away.

Alena continued to experience terrible physical assault at the hands of her husband. She recalls two instances; one was when she disagree with the husband to bring his new wife to live with them and the second incident was when she told the husband if she could go to the village with her children for a cheaper cost of living compare to being in town. The husband chased Alena and her children out of their home. They were left there not knowing where to go. It is good that some of their neighbors assisted, they referred Alena and children to a Catholic station for safety and protection.

Femili PNG’s intervention

In September 2022, Femili PNG received Alena’s case through its Goroka Outpost for further intervention. Femili PNG assisted Alena with safe accommodation. Femili PNG also collaborated with PNG police and Welfare to recoup Alena’s two younger children from the perpetrator and to be with her. The FSVU police officer intervened, called both parties and talked to the client and husband. During the discussion, the police officer warned the perpetrator to stop the abuse. The police also served the perpetrator with an interim protection order, which later on converted to a longer – term protection order.  

While the case is ongoing and while Alena was in the safe accommodation, the husband brought his new wife to their house to live with Alena’s four older children. Alena had nowhere to go after she left safe house.

In November 2022, Femili PNG organized a case discussion to look what are the possible options for Alena’s case. The client thought of going home to her home province with her children. Because of Alena’s plan, the Welfare officer arranged for an interview with Alena, the husband and the children. As per the interview, the three older children decided to stay with their father in order to continue their education. The husband promised to purchase Alena and the three younger children flight ticket. Since the new wife moved in and Alena decided not to go back to their family home, the perpetrator’s elder brother agreed to accommodate Alena and her children while waiting for the repatriation process.

However, life with Alena’s brother in-law who was a drug addict was very challenging. Alena and her children received verbal abuses, constant threats and told every time to go back to their own province. Alena feared for her life and her children. She verbalized the experiences to her respective Femili PNG caseworker, she expressed feeling of being unsafe and it is best if they can go to her family soon. Femili PNG case officer carried out family tracing and the family learned of Alena’s situation. Alena’s family was happy and looked forward for Alena and her children’s return.

In February 2023, Femili PNG assisted Alena and her four children through its repatriation activity, accompanied by the respective case officer to Oro Province. The Popondetta Welfare Officer, Rose Noah and two FSVU police officers; Constable Delilah Kaboir and Raynold Pere, were made aware of the repatriation and were at the Girua airport to receive Alena and her children. The next day, the team travelled to Alena’s village where her family have gathered to receive her and the children.

Femili PNG’s case officer observed during the hand-over how Alena’s children love their new environment. They ran around freely without fear. They were excited to visit their grandparent’s cocoa plot, nearby creek and gardens. Alena’s father thanked Femili PNG and partners for helping his daughter and bringing her safe to them.

Femili PNG acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Corporation Program (ANCP) and FemiliPNG Australia formally known as Friends of Femili PNG in helping survivors in Eastern Highlands Province.  

Get support

If you are a survivor of family or sexual violence in PNG and need assistance, contact us.

LaePort MoresbyGoroka
7091 4027 or 472 89047916 9063 or 325 10187217 9445

If you would like to help us support survivors like Alena, you can donate here.

*Not her real name