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Name, Shame and Blame


Without the encouragement and support of several wonderful people, this book would never have been written. Two amazing women have long provided inspiration for my work in HIV and gender. The late Dr Carol Jenkins was a wonderful colleague and co-conspirator since we first met twenty years ago in Port Moresby at a Health Department National AIDS Committee meeting. Together (she the biologist and medical anthropologist, I the lawyer) we wrangled, tested ideas, hatched the original plan for the PNG National AIDS Council, played devil’s advocate to each other. PNG lost a wonderful asset when she was forced to leave in the late 1990s. Dame Carol Kidu, three times elected Member of Parliament in PNG and Minister for Community Development from 2002 until the political turmoil of 2011, inspired me to carry on. Her efforts to assist the ‘meek of the earth’—battered wives, evicted squatters, illiterate street-dwellers, the sick and needy, and the stigmatised, harassed and bullied sex sellers and gays of the city—have marked her as extraordinary. She has achieved far more than I could ever hope to do. PNG has been lucky to have her, and I have been lucky to know her.

Professor Margaret Jolly of The Australian National University blessed me with her mentoring at all stages of this process, through some very trying times. Her encouragement, guidance, wisdom and faith in me and my project, despite all reservations, have been the foundation upon which this book has been constructed. It has been an immense privilege to have been associated with her, first as a doctoral student in the Gender Relations Centre of the former Research School of Pacific and Asian studies, and then as a Visiting Fellow with her Australian Research Council Laureate Project.

The late Dr John Ballard, a friend from UPNG days of long ago, supported my first faltering steps back into academia after an absence of several decades. He provided an excellent supply of background information and later, a meticulous reading of my drafts, as well as being a comprehensive source of information about life in Canberra. I was immensely flattered when, at the conclusion of my project, he retired from academic life with a satisfied sigh, declaring: my job is done.

Professor Jean Zorn, law teacher in New York and Florida, has been a firm friend since UPNG days, where she started teaching my UPNG law class about Torrens title and livery of seisin by introducing us to the notion of customary law. We have shared much together, and her thoughtful insights on many things, particularly feminist law, customary legal systems and scholarship on intersectionality, have been most welcome.

Dr Katherine (Kathy) Lepani has also been a good friend from PNG, and is now a colleague at The Australian National University. She helped immeasurably by sharing many useful insights and hints into the research process, as well as much information from her work with HIV in PNG. From the outset, she has provided sage advice and reading suggestions, and has always been ready to act as a sounding board for many of my ideas and theories.

I owe much to many other teachers, near and far (both in space and time), and particularly (in chronological order): Professor Peter Lawrence, who nearly made a full-time anthropologist of me; C.J. (Joe) Lynch, who first introduced me to law by showing me how legislative drafting can be a truly exciting, creative, significant process; Professor Peter Fitzpatrick, who, Buddha-like, taught jurisprudence under a tree behind the UPNG Forum, and recently, with Ben Golder, imparted much new insight about Michel Foucault.

The staff and students of the former Gender Relations Centre at The Australian National University, and of the current School of Culture, History and Language, and many other academics and staff of the former Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, gave willingly of their friendship, support and camaraderie. Particular thanks go to Aileen Pangutalan-Mijares, Dr Frances Steel, Dr Greg Dvorak, Dr Cathy Hine and Dr Ruth Saovana-Spriggs, for sharing office spaces, lunches, discussion, tips and workload generally. Wherever you all are now (some near, some far), I thank you. I also thank principals and staff, past and present, of Burgmann College for providing a wonderful base from which to operate for so many years. Dr Carolyn Brewer has proved to be a wonderful editor, as well as a good friend. Thanks go also to Professor Gil Herdt, Dr Vicki Luker, Professor Sally Engle Merry, Wayne Morgan and Dr Laura Zimmer Tamakoshi, for critical reading and inspiring comment on the manuscript through its various metamorphoses.

Most of all though, my thanks go to the many in PNG who have helped in some way. I thank Josepha Namsu Kiris and Keith Stebbins for their treasured friendship over the years, for shelter and cheer, for being always there for me when I needed them. I owe much to all those who assisted in my field research, but I wish particularly to acknowledge the Port Moresby branch of the Poro Sapot Project, a project of the international NGO Save the Children, and all its staff and volunteers past and present, particularly Topa Hershey, Paula Neville, Janet Kilai and the late Jason Lavare, who gave unstintingly of their time and friendship. I thank Dr Fiona Hukula-Kenema, Jim Robins and the library staff of the National Research Institute, the staff of the National Court library and archives, and of the National Archives in Port Moresby, who in various ways helped my research. A special thanks to Moses Tau and CHM Recording Studios for making his wonderful music available for my use; and to my many friends at the bar and on the Bench, particularly Sir Robert Woods, Justice Sao Gabi and Justice David Cannings, for much useful legal information and mentoring.

Finally, I wish to express my deep regret that I am not able to name and thereby honour those to whom I owe the greatest thanks, whose contribution to this book was a sine qua non. They tolerated my intrusions into their personal lives, opened their hearts and gave freely of their thoughts, their fears and their stories, and I am still at a loss as to how I might reciprocate. I can only hope that this work of mine will somehow, sometime, help to repay the debt and ease the burden.

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