Child abuse victims remembered
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.