True story of child abuse
Innocence — a true story of a journey from darkness into light By Ludovic C M Romany, Cody Press Books, $34.99
New Zealand’s record of abusing its children is appalling. On average one child is killed here every five weeks, most are under five and many under a year [Child Matters]. Most deaths are caused by someone the child knew. In just the last year, there were almost 14,000 substantiated findings of child abuse. So what happens to those children who survive?
Witere ‘Wi’ Peepe is one of them. The author recalls meeting him as a child ordered by his mother to beg for money in Rotorua. He meets him again decades later and has written his story. Wi’s father beats them, is permanently unemployed and a drunk with gang connections. He regularly sexually assaults his son and the family get respite only when he’s jailed for a road rage attack. Always hungry, abused by grandparents and most other relatives, he’s taught to shoplift, moves from place to place. The parents learned the violence from their own parents and Wi was destined to repeat the generational abuse. And for a time he does, until rehab and attention from those who understand his past put him onto a lawful, happier life. This is well written, complete with pencil drawings. It uncovers a nasty sore that many of us will hopefully never experience. And begs the question of what is being done to save these kids.