Friends had a celebration for several milestones at Easter – they are both turning 60 this year and his father will be 90.
All his parents’ descendents were there- children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. A few close friends had the pleasure and privilege of joining them for a barbeque on the Sunday evening.
Next day our great niece and great nephew (aged 9 and 10 months respectively) came to have lunch with us. They brought their parents, grandparents and an aunt.
On both occasions I looked at the children, recognised the love and support which surrounded them and wondered how it could be any other way.
Just a few days later news broke of yet another baby killed as a result of “non-accidental” injuries. That’s what you and I would call deliberate abuse and it’s something with which New Zealand is sadly all to familiar.
Kerre Woodham blames the mothers:
. . . let’s turn the spotlight on those mothers who are abject failures. All those mothers who haven’t got a clue who their children’s sperm donors were. All those mothers who have children because they get paid to – and, let’s face it, they wouldn’t get paid to do anything else. Those mothers who stay with men who hurt them and their kids because they’re so pathetic and useless that any shag – even when it comes with a biff – is better than being alone.
This Mother’s Day, I would plead that every mother who has had a child that they don’t care about or can’t cope with gets the help that they need.
If they can’t cope with the children, ring family – or ring the Cyfs helpline if they can’t trust their families.
If they’re in an abusive relationship where they’re being harmed and their children are being indelibly scarred, again, seek the help of family and friends or seek the help of the multitude of agencies that are there for you.
I appreciate that breaking the cycle is difficult if you’ve always been the victim, but come to terms with what being a mother is. My definition, and that of all the mothers I know, is to love your babies and keep them safe. And yet so many women in this country fail at the job of being a mother.
It’s not that simple.
A friend met a young, unmarried mother through sport. She’d grown up in a violent home and deliberately got pregnant when she was 16 so she could get away from home.
What does it say about her home and her life that education and work didn’t appear to be options that would give her independence; and that pregnancy and bringing up a child on a benefit were the only way she could see to have a better life?
If “normal” isn’t the love, support and encouragement of extended family; if your sense of self-worth is so low that violence and abuse are better than life alone; if your experience and personal resources are so limited you can’t see any opportunities for change and improvement you simply don’t know there is a better way for yourself and your children.
Kerre’s had enough:
When you look at the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent by desperate women going through IVF procedures to become mothers, and the millions of dollars being spent by the taxpayer because dumb, stupid, needy, dysfunctional slappers are failing at being mothers, surely even Christians must wonder if there’s a god.
I’ve been writing columns and banging on on talkback for more than 13 years about this and I am so, so sick of railing against the abomination that is child abuse in this country.
So this will be my last column on the subject. What I do is utterly futile. . .
No it’s not. Words aren’t enough but they are something.
Radio is a powerful medium. Who knows who might be listening, a mother or child, someone in the wider family, a neighbour, someone, anyone who knows something untoward is going on and who might then be prompted to seek help.
As Lindsay Mitchell says:
Fight back and keep fighting. Not for a return to the past but for a new approach. Women today have so much more opportunity. They don’t need these state crutches which if anything turn them into victims rather than empowered beings.
Take a breather and wait for the energy to return. It will.
Edmund Burke said all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.
Child abuse is evil. Talking about it, by itself, won’t stop it. But if we don’t talk about it, keep saying it isn’t normal and condemn it we will be admitting defeat.
If people who know what’s wrong give up, we’ll be abandoning children to those who don’t know what’s right.
UPDATE: Dim Post suggests:
She could educate herself on the numerous policy solutions to the problem of child abuse and advocate for them. I’ve written before about how identifying at-risk children and funding home nurse visitations has a huge impact on child abuse rates, in addition to other negative outcomes. If someone who had, say, a weekly column in a major newspaper wrote about projects like that they might effect some real change.