Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Ugly crime, ugly response

I don't have much to the ins and outs of the Nia Glassie's death than what was mentioned in Julie's post. It was a horrible, horrible crime.

But so to has been the response, let's blame the mother, she's brown and probably on welfare after popping out children to multiple fathers. So let's introduce reproductive licenses and sterilize all those not fit to breed, take children away from alcoholics (hmm perhaps the SST might want to look into the welfare of the children of its legal advisor?) but by golly don't take away my 'right' to hit my child because that is the state interfering in my life and I won't stand for that.

Except here's the rub, Nia's mother while brown wasn't on the DPB. She was working and her partner was the one who left to shack up with a thinner woman after removing his son (but not daughters) from that overcrowded and toxic environment. And while we all tap into our keyboards in anger at this horrible crime scratching our heads at how this tragedy could of occurred we make judgments on the basis of our own family life which might be very different from the abuser upbringing. By the sounds of things, the perpetrators of this abuse had a miserable existence. While this does not excuse their actions, it does seem to me that we can't just magically expect everyone to become a kind and loving parent or caregiver when they have no experience of what a kind and loving caregiver is.

But perhaps more than apportioning blame and theorizing about what went wrong we actually need to do something about child abuse. Because after reading all the analysis about this case, the best response I heard was from my mother when the story first broke, "I want to make an offer to care for her."


homepaddock said...

I wasn't judging I was trying to explain. Those of us brought up with love are much more likely to bring our children up the same way.

Those who are brought up in abusive and dysfunctional relationships are likely to inflict that on their children too because that's all they know.

Part of the answer to child abuse is helping those who've been abused.

It doesn't excuse it, but it helps to explain it.

Anna said...

I don't think there's any implication that you were judging, HP.

Like your mum, E-E, my first impulse on hearing the little one was in hospital was to offer to care for her. I very nearly did. It was kind of an absurd impulse, but I'm kind of glad I had it at the same time - it's much better than being so utterly detached from other people that you could inflict horrific abuse on them.

One of the sad things about this case is that it speaks so much about the difficulties of parenting alone. This, of course, isn't the whole explanation for the abuse, and is certainly no excuse, but it seems to me that if someone is working 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, odds are they are going to end up leaving their child in any 'care' they can obtain.

The ex-expat said...

Actually HP, your post explained better than I could how much our own experiences shape the parents we become which is why I linked to it.

homepaddock said...

EE & Anna - sorry, I read a criticism that wasn't there.

You're right about the difficulties of parenting alone and that's even harder if you don't have loving support from wider family and friends.

Also my previous comment makes more sense if the last two paragraphs are swapped so the last is second last.

Anonymous said...

Nia's abusers were just evil.

However, how that translates into "all solo mothers (I hate that term anyway), beneficiaries, people who drink / smoke cannabis, unmarried couples and polynesians are child abusers and need to be euthanised and have their children taken away" is beyond me.

Just another example of people like the despicable David Garret politicising a tragedy to beat up on people they don't like.


George said...

I despair. We desperately need to have a conversation about how to create a society that does not tolerate violence of any kind against children. s59 removal was a very important part of that. How ironic that the loudest voices against the criminalisation of violence against children are those making the most noise now!

Unfortunately, we are unlikely to get that conversation.

Tui said...

George: I couldn't agree more. I am unfortunate enough to have to listen to ZM during the worst time of the day - the morning show (ugh.) Yesterday morning featured a remarkably tasteless reading of a poem written as if by a young victim of child abuse - complete with artless AABB rhyme. It was nothing more than prurient emotional display - we feed on our own horror and shock about these kinds of things and use it to fuel outrage. But only about this one case. None of this dialogue includes a conversation about our child abuse rates and why they might be so high - and certainly the ZM breakfast show never supported Sue Bradford when she was attempting to actually change the situation. I find the entire thing revolting.