Freedom and the pursuit of happiness are basic human (not just men’s) rights

By PNG Echo

I was appalled and concerned to wake up this morning to Post Courier front-page headlines: ‘Aussie stole my wife’.

Mr John Kundil Goimba
Mr John Kundil Goimba

Firstly, the story is not news – Mr Goimba’s story has had a considerable airing over the years on various blogs that will mindlessly publish anything.

None, to my knowledge have ever questioned the paradigm that Mr Goimba is entitled to have his wife back – even if it would be, clearly, against her will.  Although, I would have expected better standards of analysis and social responsibility of Post Courier.

This is a long-running domestic saga where Mr. Goimba has been trying to manipulate a positive outcome, for himself, for, at least, six years – which is getting his wife sent back to him – as if she’s his possession that he has a right to.

It’s become an obsession – and it shouldn’t be encouraged by front-page, uncritical headlines.

Over two or three years, I have been given this story many times, quite possibly by Mr. Goimba himself – but who can remember, it happened so long ago.

I declined to publish every time because the issues that Mr Goimba wishes to pursue are so mindboggingly twisted – his sense of entitlement to another human being so very warped and, sadly, so symptomatic of PNGs problem with domestic violence.

Australian protection

Fact: Mr Goimba, no one “stole” your wife. Your wife has left you. That she has never attempted to get in touch with either yourself or her children since she initially fled suggests she had some compelling reasons to do so.

As it’s only a select few that are privy to her reasons, including the Australian Refugee Panel, one can only guess at them.

But let’s be logical here. “A loving wife” (Mr Goimba did not call himself a loving husband) does not leave a marriage and children for nothing and seek a protection visa overseas. It’s hardly likely that she was kidnapped by Australians, is it?

At the very worse, she is an unhappy but calculating woman who has manipulated the Australian authorities to grant her a protection visa for her own selfish reasons – maybe in order to find herself a better life.

But the chances of this scenario are negligible.

Any PNGean who has ever tried to obtain any sort of visa from Australian authorities will attest to the rigor of the process. Many complain that the process is unreasonably onerous. What’s more, with the refugee situation in Australia being a political hot potato, there is no way that this woman’s claim would not have been minutely scrutinized before the visa was granted.

So, chances are she has a genuine claim.

Australia is a signatory to the International Convention on Refugees that explicitly outlaws “refoulement” or repatriation to a country where the refugee’s life is in danger. This is likely the scenario that the Panel found.

Consequences of an unresaonable sense of entitlement

Either way, this woman patently does not want is to be married any more to you, Mr Goimba. And she is entitled to both her freedom and her pursuit of happiness – as a human being not as a chattel of you, her rejected husband.

To have pursued this matter so vigorously, without giving up in six years, I find frightening.

This puts Mr Goimba in the ‘stalker’ category, by any reasonable measure and his behaviour would, by now, be ringing many alarm bells with people who deal with domestic violence on a day-to-day basis.  He’s clearly obsessed.

The attitude: she’s mine, I want her, she has to stay put, or else is a very dangerous one for the women involved.

I mean, what does Mr Goimba intend to do with his reluctant spouse if she is made to return to him? Will he hold her captive? Will he assault and murder her if she tries to leave him, again?

Because this is what this sense of entitlement often leads to – the statistics of the occurrence of the murder of a female by her intimate partner or former partner are frightening in Australia, who knows what would be found in PNG if statistics were kept?

Mr Gomba, you need to accept that your wife was, at the very least, unhappy being your wife and was wishing for her freedom. That’s not a crime. What is criminal is that you are trying to demonize the Australian authorities that have given your wife protection – most likely from you.

All women and indeed human beings have the right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness – Mr Goimba, you need to respect that is what your former wife is pursuing – without you.

Post Courier – wake up to your ethical and journalistic responsibilities

Post Courier should be ashamed of themselves for their lack of analysis concerning this matter.

Presenting the story, on the front page, as if the complainant has a genuine gripe against the Australian authorities when, in this instance, they are merely fulfilling their international obligations under the refugee convention is unconscionable.

Post Courier by their tacit sympathy with Mr Goimba’s plight to have his wife returned just perpetuates the attitudes that keep many women subjugated, beaten and broken in a society where many believe there is not a lot wrong with that. She is not a human being, but a possession.

You are feeding Mr. Goimba’s obsession and that’s, at the very least, cruel.

Could it be that some PNG men see that their unhappy wives and partners have now identified a viable road to freedom and they want the pathway blocked lest it upset the very favourable-to-men status quo?

Why is Post Courier uncritically aiding and abetting this agenda?

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10 thoughts on “Freedom and the pursuit of happiness are basic human (not just men’s) rights

  1. PNG Echo, this is a very valid and practical assessment looking at the reasons behind the scene. Yes, the woman could be fleeing domestic violence? Or she could be just another greedy uncaring mother; and a promiscuous one that fell for the white man’s sweet talk and dumped her family for greener pastures? There may be a number of, as you say compelling reasons there; so let’s hope the truth surfaces one day and give Mr. John Kunjil and his children the peace and unity they’re looking for.

  2. I can sense that this attitude is fuelled by firstly the culturally arranged marriages were the couple have no part in deciding their spouses. The appropriate marriage bond is expected to be developed between the couple. In the culture this arrangement is made for security reasons and usually turns out to benefit relatives of the couple. This cannot be working for the culture where especially the girl is used as compensation in tribal conflict.
    I cultures where polygamy is practised, levels of bride price are indication of wealth, wealth based marriages as oppose to love based give rise to possession of woman as subjects and not humans.
    PNG must systematically protect women by making laws against polygamy and bride price payment.

  3. PNG Echo, while I appreciate the effort in providing a balanced view on this story, we must also be mindful that there are laws in PNG that deal with such cases. For a woman to sought refuge off-shore, and abandon her children just because the husband is abusive or violent doesn’t make things even either on her or the husband for that matter. Does her situation warrant her fleeing into Australia for refuge as a mother with children to care for?? The poor children without a mother are the real victims and not the get-away mum or abusive dad. Did she ever make any attempt to pursue this in the courts? Doesn’t she have relatives to seek refuge as temporary measure? I’d say ignorance on the woman’s part puts whole scheme of things into question… her get-away has got be justified with facts.. With due respect to all our mothers, sisters & daughters in PNG!

    • She is entitled to the pursuit of happiness. I feel for her children too – but that’s not the issue here. There are laws in PNG that protect women from abuse – ask any abused woman how effective they are. In 2012, I interviewed female prisoners at Bomana most of whom had murdered their abusive spouses. After each interview I had but one question “what took you so long?” The abuse was so horrific, so depraved, their scars available as testament and the shame at revealing to me the abuse that they suffered palpable – one husband would hold down his first wife and open her mouth while he had the second wife urinate into it. Perhaps if these women, most of whom had tried every solution before the murder, church, family, authorities to help them – had fled to Australia and sought a protection order then they would not be in prison and their husbands wouldn’t be dead (although death was too good for some of them.)The outrage at this case of Mr Goimba’s is a simple case of the patriarchy of PNG and those who support the status quo realising that they are losing control of one of their possessions – women – and they are panicking. I find it funny that they’re cloaking their panic in sympathy for the poor Australian authorities that are being scammed. If you want to feel sorry for Australian taxpayers let it be for the half a billion dollars of aid that we provide to prop you up while your own people steal from you – and you worship them. I wish the former Mrs Goimba all the happiness in the world.

      • PNGEcho, it’s obvious your views may either be gender biased or simply reflecting a conflict of interest here. If you’ve read the lines in my comments carefully, my views were strictly highlighting the issues of negligence and ignorance. Negligence to parental responsibility and ignorance to civil laws in the country. If proper divorce had been sought, none of these would have happened. Not to mention the issue on extra-marital affair. The contrast used between women in Bomana and Goimba’s get-away spouse does not have a sound basis at all considering the diversity in PNG cultures and the varying levels of literacy among individuals. I see Goimba’s get-away spouse as an educated/working class woman that had the ability to get hooked to this expat and disappear.. and later blame her unfortunate marriage as the main reason.
        Besides, if I’m correct a REFUGEE refers to any person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, in times of Political upheaval, War, danger or persecution whereas a ASYLUM REFUGEE is a refugee who can gain legal residency status if they meet certain criteria. The main difference between the two (2) forms of relief is that Asylum seekers are already in a foreign country whilst refugees are outside a foreign country. Mrs Goimba’s case is history between PNG and Australia… There are laws and process to follow – the lack of one’s awareness or better still one’s ignorance can no longer be accepted in the court of law! If you feel such is one of the many remedies Australia can offer to protect married women against their abusive/violent spouse at an international scale (while promote promiscuity on the other hand as for this case), I bet you’re not implying such as one of the provision in the Australian Immigration laws.. On the contrary, I salute you for having to share the same sentiments with women in PNG on a personal level..

        • So, my views are gender biased because they conflict with yours. Well of course they are! Then you invent an extra-marital affair and a romantic attachment to an ex pat for this poor woman and you say that there is no similarity between her and the women in Bomana – having met neither. You say that YOU see Mrs Goimba as an educated/working class woman – you do know that those two terms are opposites, don’t you? But that aside, you’ve decided she’s educated and the Bomana inmates aren’t. You have no way of knowing that. As for ‘refugees’. You are getting yourself tied in knots there – a refugee is someone that flees their country and seeks refuge (or asylum) somewhere else. Try thinking of the morphology of the word – that should help you. As for promoting promiscuity – promiscuity is an avenue that human beings are free to pursue within the law. There is no law in Australia against promiscuity. You need to recognise that you are imposing your own moral values on someone else – and you are not entitled to do that.

  4. Good on you PNG Echo, you are the true voice of the voiceless. Whilst much had been published by the Australian / PNG mainstream and social media about violence towards PNG women in PNG nothing gets mentioned of the trauma and violence our mothers and sisters experience behind closed doors at the hands of their Australian and New Zealander husbands/partners. I got told by two women that every-time they had some disagreement they were told to ” think about where you were picked up from” by their husbands – meaning they were sub zero human beings picked up from the tip in Port Moresby or something. They also said that they do almost 99% of the work at home unlike Australian women who’d stand up against such. An AFP (Australia Police Officer) who happened to be my friend told me once, it would be better if the Islander, African or Asian women got married to their own. I believe this story does not seem isolated, there are more women suffering behind closed doors in Oz/NZ especially our women. Would appreciate if PNG Echo could also expose the suffering of our women in Australia and New Zealand as well.

  5. The sad thing is that there is a few apparently educated [possibly highly educated] persons casing out arguments that make little or no sense. You know, mi jes sem nothing ya! A case of wasted education? The fact is it seems the woman dumped the guy and her kids and opted to pursue the life of her dreams. Apparently her bliss is in the arms of an Aussie. She could easily be banging a Mexican for all we care. Even the educated in this land of many caves find it hard to get their villages and caves out of their heads. Ol pik mama em blo yumi lo passim lo rop na lukaum as the source of our wealth and breed. Ol meri em ol human being husat igat rights lo do what they very well please. Em klia nao?

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