Child abuse vic­tims re­mem­bered

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By EMMA DAWE

CHILD abuse hap­pens in Cen­tral Otago whether we like it or not.

That’s the word from Roxburgh woman and fos­ter mum of 20 years Vicky Whyte, who says child abuse is not just a city prob­lem.

‘‘It hap­pens here in Cen­tral Otago within the four walls of some fam­ily homes.

‘‘And on the out­side, they may look like the per­fect fam­ily, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t abuse go­ing on.’’

Mrs Whyte was the driv­ing force be­hind last year’s inaugural Twi­light Re­mem­brance event, which aimed to bring the com­mu­nity to­gether to re­flect and re­mem­ber those vic­tims of child abuse na­tion­wide.

A sim­i­lar event will be held again this year at Butch­ers Dam, on Novem­ber 20.

While the num­bers at last year’s event were dis­ap­point­ingly low, she still be­lieved the event was a suc­cess, as it showed at least some peo­ple cared.

‘‘But if they’re the only peo­ple that care about child abuse, then I’m re­ally scared.’’

She had found it a strug­gle last year and again this year to get the sup­port from the com­mu­nity for the event, but be­lieved it might be be­cause peo­ple didn’t like to talk about child abuse, pre­fer­ring to keep it in the closet.

‘‘But when I see an­i­mals be­ing treated bet­ter than some chil­dren and cases of cru­elty to an­i­mals get­ting more me­dia at­ten­tion than chil­dren be­ing abused, it makes me so up­set.

‘‘I don’t dis­like an­i­mals, but what about our chil­dren?’’

A high­light of this year’s event will be guest speaker Nathan Mikaere-Wal­lis, from the Brain­wave Trust, who will talk about child devel­op­ment and his ex­pe­ri­ences be­ing a fos­ter par­ent.

The pub­lic will also be in­vited to light a can­dle to re­mem­ber young vic­tims, and helium bal­loons will be re­leased.

Mrs Whyte said the ser­vice was a small step in reach­ing her ul­ti­mate goal of build­ing a me­mo­rial and es­tab­lish­ing a na­tional day to re­mem­ber child abuse vic­tims.

‘‘We have set aside pub­lic days for causes such as can­cer, fam­ily vi­o­lence, cot death and even gay days.

‘‘We have An­zac Day for our fallen sol­diers — why can’t we have a day for these chil­dren who ex­pe­ri­ence their own bat­tle­fields, war and death?’’

All about the kids: That’s the word from Vicky Whyte— the driv­ing force be­hind the Twi­light Re­mem­brance evening planned for Novem­ber 20 at Butch­ers Dam.

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