Monday, 27 October 2008


I found myself unexpectedly in tears the other night, watching the news and hearing the reports of testimony in regards to the ill-treatment and murder of Nia Glassie. Never has a dryer looked so ominous to my eyes; I shuddered as I saw it sitting in the court as evidence.

The cruel treatment of Nia seems completely alien to me. I cannot comprehend how a human being could do those things to anything living; anything that could meet your gaze or cry or struggle. It was violence the like of which many of us would never have even contemplated carrying out on our toys as naive childhood experiments. I don't drink, and I've never been out of my head on drugs, but I can't imagine that any intoxicating concoction could lead me, or anyone I know, to do those things.

Nia was abused until her body, and her life, were broken. And people who could do this must be broken on the inside, in order to be capable of doing this. There will have been months, perhaps even years, of mistreatment of animals, other children, and probably adults before Nia became a target.

It's on the radio again now, and I winced as they told about one incident. There's an importance, I think, in bearing witness to what has happened here. But I wonder about the point at which the reportage becomes gratuitous, even exploitative. Does it do us any good to hear the gory details? I don't know. Does it encourage us to speak out when we see someone treating another person (or for that matter another animal) unconscionably? I hope so.

Some will take Nia Glassie's case and use it to say we should reinstate the parental discipline defence, before the amendment of s59. I find their arguments counter-intuitive; that somehow we can end the hitting with more hitting.

I don't have much more to say about this, and I acknowledge it's a strange disjointed post on my part. I guess I just wanted to say something, anything, to mark, and to reject, the unacceptable violence that Nia suffered. I hope we never ever see a case like this again.


Anonymous said...

Like you I can't fathom how anyone could do this anyone let alone a child.

I would be horrified if anyone was so twisted as to use this sickening case as a reason to oppose or indeed support the Repeal of Section 59. It should be seen for what is an unforgivable act of evil.

Anonymous said...

I've had similar thoughts about the reporting of this. The methodical listing of explicit violent detail while you are eating soggy Weet Bix at the kitchen table just doesn't seem right to me.

I don't know if the shock factor that the horrific details produce really go into anything necessarily productive. Don't people just feel upset and agree that the abuse is completely horrendous, also known as the duh position?

Anna said...

The 'duh position' is exactly it. The details are so horrible that you can become completely despondent.