True story of child abuse

Horowhenua Chronicle - - BOOKS - Linda Thomp­son

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.

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