Child killing - her message to you
Monique Williamson is speaking for the nation’s young, a generation whose lives are at risk because of violence against them, often in their home.
She is also a voice for hundreds of thousands of others who’ve been shocked by the continuing killings, who have talked earnestly about it in the supermarket checkout queue, at the book club or over the fence to a neighbour, but who perhaps have done nothing about the matter nor about their genuine concerns.
Two facts make Monique different.
At 16, year 12 at Massey High School, she is only one generation older than the children who are being battered to death.
The second major difference: The positive ways she is doing something about the facts and her deep concerns.
“I realised that this was an ongoing problem and decided to raise awareness and try to make a difference by creating a petition to get people to sign.”
Now she’s setting up her own public meeting to push her campaign further. Her first sources are typical – the media.
So is her reaction: “I was shocked to see all the innocent New Zealand children dying at the hands of adults as a result of extensive child abuse.
“What was even more shocking was when I started research into the topic on the internet.
“I found out that convicted child killers were getting out of prison before even serving their full sentence. Instead they were let back onto our streets for ‘good behaviour’.”
That was four months ago.
“So far I have more than 200 petition signatures from my fellow school students.”
As she describes them: “Kids who are going to be future parents.”
One already is. Close friends lined up in support include one recent school mate, a teenage mother who – like Monique – was horrified that children like her baby were abused and killed by those who had a duty to care for and love them.
Others joined the cause when Monique created a web page on Bebo with more than 3000 members, 11,000 views and many messages of support. Teenagers at other schools across the region have contacted her.
“This encouraged me to realise that I am not alone. Many other New Zealanders think the same as me. I realised that it was time to take a step further to help speak out for the innocent children in New Zealand who cannot speak out for themselves.”
Now, the Monique movement has taken another major step.
“I have arranged a public meeting on June 23 at 7.30pm at the Massey Community Hall, 385 Don Buck Rd.
“I have invited Bob McCroskie, national director of Family First, to speak, along with the two National Members of Parliament, Tau Henare and Chester Burrows, and also Christine Rankin. They have all eagerly accepted.”
In a letter to this column, she sums up:
“I believe that this meeting will be a major step in letting the government know that people like me exist.
“It’s an effort to raise awareness of the plight of countless children suffering at the hands of grown-ups who should know better. These children need protecting.”
But Monique is no junior bleeding heart.
She takes a tough line.
The preamble to her petition urges: • If a person beats their child to death they should automatically be tried for murder, not manslaughter • If convicted, the sentence should be life in prison with no parole – ever • If a person knows a child is being abused at home, does nothing to stop it and the child dies as a result of the abuse, they should be tried for manslaughter • Repeat abusers who have their children taken from them by CYFS for that reason should never be allowed them back. Such abusers should not be allowed where children are going to be unsupervised • Closer supervision of families already known to CYFS for child abuse.
The petition’s rallying cry: “We cannot stand by any longer and watch our innocent angels being taken from us.”
Not surprisingly, the Sensible Sentencing Trust encouraged her.
So has her mother, Dianne Campton, who Monique lists her as “marketing manager (Mum). In her other workingweek life she is health, safety and environmental adviser at Vector.
And Monique? Well, she’s obviously one of those many highly-motivated and energetic teenagers we normally don’t hear much about. Rhythmic gymnastics is a major interest – she is working towards a coaching qualification.
The future? She’s split between a career in law or as a marine biologist. A busy life. Questions on Monique and her mission, for instance, had to be fitted in before “marketing manager (Mum)” came back from the hairdresser and they headed off – like thousands of others – to Saturday afternoon netball. They lost. Asked to define what Monique’s mission represents, marketing manager (Mum) summed up: “She is learning her social responsibilities. She is always passionate about things she’s interested in.”
The clue to both is obvious: The t-shirt Monique had specially printed with her message of the moment: “Child abuse! No excuse!”
Her petition will be available for signing at the Massey meeting.
If you want to help get more signatures, marketing manager (Mum) is at 021-925-812.
To contact Pat Booth email: offpat@snl. co.nz. All replies are open for publication unless marked Not For Publication.
Young campaigner: Monique Williamson.