Tuesday 23, August, 2016 – Buka, Autonomous region of Bougainville|| Clayton Tuata was once a victim of the domestic violence, often witnessing it as a child. He said, he never saw abusive men in his family as bad people, but always wanted to protect the women in family. This was the motivation that pushed him to become what he is today, an advocate for change in a post war society.
He was nominated as one of Digicel PNG Foundation’s Man of honour, for his educational work in Buka and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Despite no formal qualification as a teacher, Tuata acquired his skills from observing members of the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency for two years and is now a certified trainer and counsellor for trauma having been with them since 2010.
Tuata is formally employed as the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency’s Male Advocate in Buka, Autonomous region of Bougainville. A role which he not only performs at a professional level, but also lives in his everyday life. Much of Clayton’s work revolves around advocating for peace and educating people about ending violence against women in particular.
Mr. Tuata had recently attended a Men of Honour Workshop organised by Digicel PNG Foundation where he shared his story to his fellow Men of Honour Ambassadors.
“After I attended counselling training, I came back straight home to talk to my parents. It was only by God’s Grace that I attended this training and it was the first time I had sat down with both my mother and father, who both agreed to have a talk with me to address the issue of my father’s abusive behaviour under the influence of alcohol,” Tuata said.
With emotions evidently running through him, he continued on to say that the talk went well and ended with a big tearful family hug that was unusual but very comforting and encouraging for him and his family.
“At that moment I felt change. Change in the family and in me. My interest to help others facing post-conflict trauma was strengthened.”
Tuata’s mother is from West New Britain while his father is from Bougainville.
“To me it was important to create the change from within my family first before I continued as a Man of Honour,” Mr. Tuata said.
A young man who grew up in Rabaul, Tuata uses his experience to rehabilitate people who are still suffering from the effects of the war and mentoring young men through sports and other activities encouraging them to turn away from violence. He was introduced to the work of Leitana women’s development agency by his wife, Bianca Hakena, who he acknowledges as his greatest supporter.
He said being an advocator against violence for a women’s organization and having a skin colour that is not typically of AROB citizens has had it challenges. He has been ridiculed and often teased but this did not deter him from achieving his higher goals and serve his life’s purpose.
Tuata said after being recognized as a Man of Honour, he is respected more and he’s words are more effective. The recognition has motivated him even more to bring change to his people for it is a cause he is passionate about. It is a campaign against violence.
He is consistent that change will take time, but he will continue to do his part and hopes to inspire many more young people to join the journey towards a peaceful AROB and indeed PNG.