Gendered Violence 7a - The Lived Effects of the "Failing State"


Lived Effects of a ‘Failing State’

The cumulative effects of colonial histories and neocolonial exploitation are exacerbated at number of levels by the presence of Australia’s camps, compounding experiences of political suppression, economic inequality, and the threat of violence in the everyday lives of local people in Nauru and Manus Island.

Michelle Nayamahui Rooney argues that the detention centre on Manus Island promotes a power dynamic of aggression, directed at locals as well as detainees. One of the key effects of ‘the Manus complex’ is a heightening of masculinist violence.


‘The Manus complex is without doubt a dynamic of power and hierarchy that depends on masculine domination, aggression, intimidation and inequality. These dynamics are reaffirmed at the national and bilateral political levels in the language used by political leaders in Australia and PNG.’

Michelle Nayamahui Rooney

The dynamics of these complex hierarchies of power are exemplified by the case of a female Papua New Guinean Transfield worker who was allegedly raped by Wilson Officers from Australia and New Zealand.  The officers were subsequently flown out of the country, before they could be held accountable under PNG law.  (Perera and Pugliese, 2018)


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