Saturday, August 04, 2007


A number of issues in New Zealand in the past week have made me really sad. I love my country, and it hurts me to see it as a place where children are not safe and also where racism and intolerance seems to be on the increase again. Children being tortured, immigrants being beaten in their own homes and people still have the energy to complain when the newsreaders introduce themselves with "kia ora" instead of "hello."

Last week, a toddler was admitted to the hospital after being tortured by a number of adults in her extended family. The details of the abuse have been hugely publicised, and include the baby being pegged to a clothesline and spun around, as well as being put in the drier. It's hard to type those words, and it became even harder to think about when her photo was published- not just because she was one of the most adorable babies I've seen, but because it made the images even harder to get out of our heads. The baby stayed in a stable but critical condition for a week or so, but died last night.

I'm not going to get into the politics of all of this (it's emphasised much deeper issues in our society here), but I did want to tell the story. This sort of child abuse may be the most hideous, but unfortunately, it's not the only sort. Domestic abuse is a problem across all of NZ society, but we ignore it or blame "them" or we blame the victims.

Nearly 30,000 women and children used women's refuge services in 2006. Whether the sharp increases in use over the past five years are due to increased abuse or increased acceptance of help, I don't know, but I am fairly certain that those 30,000 women and children are a fraction of those who are living in fear. I also know that even 30,000 out of 4 million kiwis is too many. I also recognise that men are not the only problem- women are abusers too.

So, for marathon 2, as you may have noticed from my sidebar, I'm racing for the women's refuge. My sister is running her first half, and we've decided to fundraise together. If you would like to donate, please visit our Fundraise Online site.


Wes said...

It is sad, Kate. Abuse and neglect is a human failing, not a New Zealand failing. I will donate for you race. Just remind me before it is too late so I can save my money for ya :-)

The Scott Family said...

I agree wes, that abuse and neglect is a human failing, not just a NZ failing BUT I have to say that we (myself and wife) have been shocked by the child abuse and neglect that seems to happen all too often in NZ. We come from London and so we are used to high rates of crime and violence (which we don't seem to see here) but we have been shocked by the apparent child neglect that we see with our own eyes and the neglect, abuse and killing of children that we see on the news ... and it is so shocking that it is being carried out by family members.

Sorry to have gone on a bit but the news that the latest victim has just died has shocked us all (although probably for the best) and our children are asking questions that we just can't answer ... like WHY?????

For such a small population the number of family killings is horrendous. Heard recently that a women is killed by a family member every five weeks in NZ. That is just unbelievable.

I would be happy to sponsor your race, Kate.


Pip said...

Good on you for doing something Kate. I usually collect for Women's Refuge each year, and it amazes me how many people really do care about domestic violence. My bucket felt empty this year because it was filled with note rather than coins, and one woman donated $50.

(BTW: ran 70 minutes this morning on legs still shattered from Thursday's hill sprints. Ouch! I'm sooo envious of your last good run)

Jessica said...

Hey Kate - Excuse my ignorance, but I don't know much about the political situation in New Zealand. Where can I learn more about what is happening and (as much as possible) why?