Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In memory of Nia

I told myself I wouldn’t read it.
For weeks, horrifying details of the nightmare that was little Nia Glassie’s life, have played out in the New Zealand press.
Like the rest of the country, I’ve been sickened by the reports, yet somehow, unable to look away.
How could anyone not just hurt, but torture an innocent child? How could a mother stand by and allow her child to be tormented and abused and yet, do nothing? How could neighbours see some of the violence and fail to report it?
I know we always ask questions like these when incidents of child abuse and domestic violence are reported all too often, but the graphic report in this morning’s New Zealand Herald is haunting me.
With the court case over, and guilty verdicts handed down, the paper vividly catalogued the sickening assaults which eventually killed the three-year-old. Her world was a place where the people who were supposed to care for her put her in a clothes dryer, swung her off a clothesline, kicked her, threw basketballs at her, and made her life hell. Where her mother turned a blind eye to the abuse, and didn't even take her to the hospital to get medical treatment. Where a little girl was too afraid to cry, and would whimper instead.
(I can't go into more details, because I'm feeling physically ill even as I type the words. If you want a detailed account, go read http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10543815).
The statements to police by other children living in this house of hell, were particularly poignant.
Reading the stories, I cried. I felt angry. Sick. Helpless. Sad. I still do.
I don’t know what exactly blogging about Nia will do, but I guess I wanted to write something that might keep this poor little girl’s memory alive.
So that we will all think of Nia and say a prayer for her soul.
So that we will give our own children at extra cuddle and kiss when they come home from school this afternoon.
I know I will.
If you want to know more about preventing child abuse, go to http://www.stopchildabuse.com.au/ in Australia, or http://www.everychildcounts.org.nz/ in New Zealand.
As the ACF says: Children cannot stop child abuse or neglect. Adults can.

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