Nia’s agony – and an­other girl’s mis­ery

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

An­other week, yet more hor­ri­fy­ing in­sights into the ter­ri­ble life of three­yearNia Glassie as the fa­ther of the broth­ers con­victed of Nia’s mur­der is also found guilty of cruel as­saults on her ... Nel­son par­ents in court and their baby boy in Starship with a frac­tured skull.

And the wave of an­gry let­ters con­tin­ues – the most sus­tained reader re­ac­tion in 15 years of this col­umn and, for me, the most mov­ing re­sponse since my Thomas case rev­e­la­tions more than 30 years ago. Here are quotes from some of them, a num­ber are abridged:

“I’m a 19-year-old girl with an amaz­ing group of friends, a first-time of­fice job and I’m liv­ing in­de­pen­dently with an amaz­ing group of peo­ple. But not ev­ery­thing was great for me.

“From the time I was born un­til about 10 I was con­stantly beaten, sex­u­ally abused, emo­tion­ally abused and fight­ing for my life. I knew no other life and the sick thing was that it was nor­mal – ev­ery naughty kid was treated this way, weren’t they?

“Well, ob­vi­ously I know that is a lie if I have ever heard one, and what makes me sooooo an­gry was that no one in the neigh­bour­hood said any­thing – aunts and un­cles turned their backs and older cousins just joined in the ‘fun’ and I was ev­ery­body’s prob­lem!

“Be­cause I never stayed long in a house­hold I was al­ways shifted along to the next fam­ily mem­ber. At eight, I no­ticed that my lit­tle brother and sis­ter were be­ing treated the same way. I stood up and told some­one be­cause I didn’t want them to go through what had hap­pened to me. And I kept telling some­one un­til I was even­tu­ally heard and action took place – but freak­ing heck, it was hard.

“I re­mem­ber telling my teacher that I was not go­ing to school be­cause our fam­ily had no food to eat – my days off added up to about three months in one school year. The teacher just ex­cused my ab­sences and noth­ing more was done!

“And when I did tell some­body about the sex­ual and phys­i­cal abuses and was fi­nally heard, I felt ex­tremely guilty for years af­ter – and some peo­ple in my fam­ily didn’t make it any eas­ier. You’re right, the sys­tem does fail in its re­spon­si­bil­ity to the chil­dren of this na­tion and the only way that a child will get help is if they have the au­dac­ity to ‘nark’ on the peo­ple do­ing this to them.

“What can I do to help? Cause I’m the best narker in the world and I am no longer ashamed of it, just an­gry at those who let me down.” – Name pro­vided

Con­stance John­son, Waikowhai: “I read your Tiny Voices from the Grave col­umn with tears in my eyes. It’s time the death penalty was brought back for peo­ple guilty of such heinous crimes. But if that’s not ac­cept­able, then lock the mur­der­ers up for life – and make it life.

“For those fam­i­lies who were present when a child was beaten to death, but won’t ad­mit who did it, lock the whole lot up un­til one per­son does con­fess or dobs in the cul­prit.

“While par­ents, boyfriends, care­givers con­tinue to bru­tally at­tack small, de­fence­less chil­dren and get a slap with a wet bus ticket as pu­n­ish­ment, New Zealand will never be re­garded as a civilised coun­try but as a place where the na­tives con­done th­ese hor­ren­dous crimes and our jus­tice sys­tem is non-ex­is­tent.”

From a vic­tim: “When I was raped at seven there was no help for vic­tims. If I ‘d known where I could find help I would have done so. But I was threat­ened as well. In a child’s mind, when an adult threat­ens you, who do you turn to, where can you go for se­cu­rity, who can you trust?”

Kirstin Dufty, Paku­ranga, who lost her 11-year-old son in tragic cir­cum­stances: “Your col­umn was the most thought-pro­vok­ing piece of writ­ing I have ever read. I hope it has touched the hearts of those who have power to make changes. What could pos­si­bly make a hu­man be­ing, let alone a par­ent, do such hor­rifi things to a child? Tougher sen­tenc­ing is the num­ber one pri­or­ity and con­vic­tion of those who stay si­lent.”

Pauline Innes: “We ap­pear to have bet­ter laws on the ill-treat­ment of an­i­mals than we do for our chil­dren.”

Jan McIl­roy, Hill­crest: “I hope our new gov­ern­ment is go­ing to stop the namby pamby dither­ing and do some­thing about im­prov­ing the law, and to get the ap­pro­pri­ate so­cial ser­vices to work to­gether to stop th­ese un­nec­es­sary deaths.”

Ch­eryl Atkin­son on abuse of Maori chil­dren by Maori: “Women’s part­ners are more to blame than the birth fathers and the birth moth­ers are vastly in­tim­i­dated by their pow­er­ful part­ners by not in­ter­ven­ing in their chil­dren’s de­fence. As a Euro­pean white woman, I would leave my hus­band in an in­stant if he threat­ened my chil­dren. Maybe Maori women don’t know about sup­port ser­vices for bat­tered women? Does the law let them down? Do they have no sup­port ser­vices?”

Tim Nalden, One­hunga: “It sick­ened me to see tele­vi­sion footage of those charged with the mur­der of Nia Glassie snig­ger­ing and chuck­ling in court. And it angers me that the loop­holes in our le­gal sys­tem have seen no one brought to jus­tice for the cold-blooded mur­ders of the Kahui twins.

“As the wave of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has swept over our once-proud na­tion, the le­gal sys­tem has placed an em­pha­sis on pris­oner wel­fare, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, pa­role and re­duc­ing prison pop­u­la­tions.

“While many of th­ese items are valid, those re­spon­si­ble for our jus­tice sys­tem have lost sight of the pri­mary pur­poses of law and or­der – to ap­pro­pri­ately pun­ish crim­i­nals, to pro­tect so­ci­ety from th­ese thugs, and to send the strong­est mes­sage pos­si­ble that th­ese crimes are not tol­er­ated.”

Fiona Lid­dlow, a mother of two boys aged four and two: ‘I have tried to voice my con­cerns ex­ten­sively over the very is­sues that you have raised. I wrote to Par­lia­ment last year on crimes of this sort and I got a com­plete brush-off – in par­tic­u­lar over the Kahui twins.

“I am ap­palled and amazed that when th­ese ter­ri­ble, sense­less deaths oc­cur, fam­i­lies are al­lowed, in fact en­ti­tled, to close ranks without any pres­sure what­so­ever to bring th­ese mur­der­ers to jus­tice.

“Th­ese peo­ple didn’t think twice when they cre­ated life, and yet they keep prov­ing more than once that they think even less when they take life. Th­ese fam­i­lies stick to­gether af­ter th­ese hor­rifi crimes, yet they do not stick to­gether when the chil­dren most sig­nif­i­cantly need it.”

Mau­reen Prib­ble, Al­bany: “When it comes to child abuse and baby killing, I won­der if rugby has sucked us dry of any com­pas­sion, or time to do any­thing about it. If we can spend hours at the sta­dium or watch­ing tele­vi­sion, why can’t we spend a few min­utes to ring or write to our Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment de­mand­ing some­thing be done about this dis­grace­ful sit­u­a­tion?

“If our sym­pa­thies go out to an in­jured rugby player, who’ll re­cover and play next week, surely we have enough com­pas­sion left to feel for each help­less baby that’s kicked, thrown around, beaten over the head, abused, un­til their brief life is ended and death is a re­lief.

“Are we just too blind to see, too stupid to un­der­stand, too cal­lous to care, or too lazy to do any­thing about it? This must be a sign of a sick so­ci­ety when we spend more time, money, en­ergy and pas­sion on a sport than we do on a prob­lem that shames us as a so­called de­vel­oped na­tion?” • The three col­umns on vi­o­lence against chil­dren and re­ac­tions from dis­tressed, an­gry read­ers have been re­ferred for com­ment to Prime Min­is­ter John Key, Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Si­mon Power, Min­is­ter of Maori Af­fairs Pita Sharples and Turi­ana Turia, the other joint leader of the Maori Party.

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