This is the story of *Kimia, a young girl who experienced ongoing sexual abuse by her cousin sister’s husband. She reported the matter to her cousin sister but the sister accused her of making up stories. Kimia felt unsafe and unsupported. Femili PNG worked together with police and other partners and helped her with the assistance she needed.
Kimia (*not her real name) was just 12 years old when she experienced sexual abuse from her brother-in-law.
In 2020, Kimia chose to follow her cousin sister to live with her and her family in a coastal province. After being with the family for a while, her cousin sister gave her the task of looking after her toddler while she went to the market and ran other errands. For almost every day, Kimia and the toddler were by themselves. She lived with them for almost a year before the perpetrator started abusing her.
When her cousin sister went out on her daily business, the cousin sister’s husband began to sexually abuse Kimia. The sexual abuse occurred several times, and Kimia felt uncomfortable and unsafe to continue living with the family. For Kimia, the sexual abuse experiences was too much for her, she could not keep it to herself. She told her cousin sister about the sexual abuses committed by her husband to her. After Kimia reported the matter, her sister got into several arguments with her husband and also accused Kimia of having an affair with her husband and making up stories about the sexual abuse.
In mid-January 2022, Kimia felt unsafe and unsupported, and ran away to another town, an hour’s drive from her cousin sister’s place. She roamed around the town, having no family or friends to call on for help. After a while, a kindhearted woman saw her and brought her to her home.
Kimia stayed with the woman for a month. The woman took good care of her and assisted her to report the incident to the Family and Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU). After the police took Kimia’s statement, the FSVU officer referred Kimia to other service providers for immediate safe accommodation and medical intervention at the Family Support Centre (FSC).
Femili PNG’s intervention
On February 14, 2022, the FSC at ANGAU Hospital referred Kimia to Femili PNG. Femili PNG assisted Kimia to complete her medical treatment through safe transport from the safe accommodation to FSC. FSC also assisted Kimia to pursue her case by completing her medical report and submitting to the police for filing.
On 3rd May 2022, the perpetrator was arrested and later on remanded at Buimo prison camp.
Kimia’s case was progressing, and while waiting, Kimia’s family was located. During the family tracing, Kimia’s father said that the rest of the family had no idea of Kimia’s whereabouts and what was happening to her. They thought she had been lost. To hear that Kimia was safe was a huge relief for the family.
Having no family and relatives in town apart from the cousin sister, Kimia needed assistance to return home. Femili PNG collaborated with police and arranged the repatriation trip in January 2023. The repatriation team comprised a Femili PNG caseworker and four police officers; together they brought Kimia back to her home province.
The three-day road trip was a success. Kimia’s family members organized a welcome ceremony; immediate families, relatives, friends, community leaders and other service providers gathered to receive Kimia.
As the police vehicle approach the village, the environment felt like a mourning place. Kimia’s immediate family members and relatives were crying when they saw the police vehicle pulling in. The family thought that they would never see Kimia again; they thought she had died.
Kimia’s mother was crying and found it hard to talk. During the exchange of acknowledgments, Kimia’s father said that they had heard rumors that she was kidnapped, forced to get married and was living in a remote place in a coastal province. In tears, he expressed his gratitude to the team for bringing his daughter back.
Kimia is now back and living happily with her family. Femili PNG assisted Kimia with a business start-up kit to support her financially as she is planning to go back to school.
Femili PNG acknowledges continuous support from the Australian Government through PNGAUS partnership to help us to continue touch lives of children like Kimia.
If you are a survivor of family or sexual violence in PNG and need assistance, contact us.
If you would like to help us support child survivors like Kimia, you can donate here.
*Not her real name