Today New Zealand faces the aftermath of one of the worst cases of child abuse seen here. The trial that found two found guilty of murder, the mother guilty of manslaughter and two other with charges of abuse. Key witnesses were other children in the house. I won’t go into what happened to Nia, but some of the comments in the newspapers have been about a culture that enabled the abuse to continue through turning a blind eye. How can people ignore and gloss over such obvious abuse?
This is not an isolated incident. Within our own experiences we were forced to perform sexual acts on boys in the classroom while the lessons were continuing. The teacher was made aware of this by another table of students – she just looked away.
Why do people look away? What makes a person see an obvious case of harm being done, but they decide that it isn’t any of their business? When does someones safety become your business?
The conditions that Nia was growing up in were known by neighbours, visitors, family etc. No one did anything. How dare they do nothing! How dare they not save her! It has been said that the neighbours who did nothing were worried about gang retaliation. What’s worse – a gang retaliation, or living with the knowledge that if you had said something one little girl might have been saved?