Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Fringe of Darkness

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  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    At 13 I wanted to experiment . But it was my choice. That difference is acceptable.

    Also, I don't think I've ever yet come across a 13-year old who wanted to experiment with someone a whole lot older than themselves - let alone some hairy smelly "old" (by 13-year old standards) person. .

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The other law reform the removal of the rights of the child’s parents to use violence on there children, to make them do what they want.

    What I am trying to point out, is that the abuse of children,
    is a symptom of an unhealthy community. And that a larger part of our wider community has come kicking and screaming out of denial, about some of its ailments.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    hairy smelly “old”

    When you put it like that I can’t say I’m completely surprised that you haven’t come across any individual who felt confident in negotiating the indignity of admitting that these features might turn them on. Hairy and smelly, like apes. like hirsute humans, a marked departure from anything you’d likely see in a Rexona commercial – nothing a good shower and waxing wouldn’t take care of, after all most of us watched Magnum PI for the car not the lush Hawaiian vegetation.

    In this environment children are muzzled, especially around adults, they are neither encouraged nor allowed to express any sexual preference, so we’re not going to be hearing about that anytime soon. By contrast, many adults seem comfortable admitting it takes all sorts.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Well yes ,I was interested in the spunky slightly older brother of my friend.Seeing him 38 years later was a friendly situation too. That's healthy relations.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The Kinsley report, is where some sex offenders, enablers and passive observers, get there perverse belief systems that adult/child sexual relationships are harmless, if nobody makes a fuss.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Sorry for my snark there Lucy, this thread…

    Having taken some time to reflect, the issue I have with what you wrote is that a majority of people I have spoken to who were abused as children were abused by slightly older children. The victims were ambushed, there is extremely limited education – basically little frame of reference to provide warning signs. These crimes largely go unreported within society and families. WRT children, society’s fixation on age brackets and adults breaking the law seems to take precedence over the protection of children being abused or not as the case may be. I have strong misgiving about the way the former actress who shall not be named has been hung out to dry here.

    Secondly, I find the stereotyping somewhat haphazard in that some adult abusers are incredibly attractive, pop stars, tv personalities etc, their magnetism and ability to manipulate is problematic while their personal hygiene is a non-issue.

    If sexual acts become known at the time, children are damned whether these acts are consensual or coerced.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to chris,

    this thread…

    is very confronting.

    Raises memories and issues and is forcing some of us to travel back in time to when we were vulnerable and at risk and no-one was there to care for us the way we had the right to be cared for.

    I'm choosing not to take umbrage at the reactions of others who may have been there too.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Chris, I understand where you’re coming from, and should have made it clear that by “hairy smelly ‘old’” I was thinking in particular of Bert Potter, and more broadly of how children describe the adults who abuse them – as adults we might not consider them hairy, smelly or old. Of course abusers come in a wide range of ages, hirsuteness and odours.

    Interesting that you say the “majority of people I have spoken to who were abused as children were abused by slightly older children”. That’s pretty much the opposite of my experience, where of all the people who have told me about being abused as children, only one of them was by a slightly older child (her older brother); the rest of the abusers were adults. Of course I accept that my knowledge is limited to those I’ve spoken to, so as I say, interesting to have it expanded.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I accept that my knowledge is limited to those I’ve spoken to

    Likewise my knowledge is similarly limited to those I've spoken to, which I guess renders my use of the quantifier 'majority' redundant in the larger scheme. For the most these were isolated incidents not experienced serially by the victim, perpetrated by family friends, neighbours and strangers. I guess of greatest concern to me is that I'd heard about enough of these types of incidents to presume that they're almost commonplace.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    interesting to have it expanded.

    I did some searches last night, there wasn’t much available, the child-on-child sexual abuse entry at Wikipedia linked to a few study abstracts;

    A substantial proportion of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by adolescents and even younger children. Few states and child protective agencies, however, acknowledge juvenile perpetrators and their victims within the investigatory and substantiation guidelines regarding sexual abuse (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003). Despite the lack of research evidence, victims of younger perpetrators are often perceived to be at less risk for developing a traumatic response to sexual abuse. The purpose of this study was to investigate how both the characteristics of a sexual offense and the age of the perpetrator are associated with victims’ consequent behavioral and emotional functioning. The current research investigated these relationships using bivariate and multivariate analysis. Multiple regression analyses revealed that there are numerous abuse-related characteristics that predict to poor outcomes in victims of child sexual abuse. Use of force and frequency were associated with victims’ self-reported levels of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress. While perpetrator age was associated with the development of sexualized behavior and externalizing and internalizing behavior problems, duration and invasiveness of abuse accounted for a greater proportion of the variance in these outcomes. Logistic regression analysis revealed that adults were more likely to commit frequent acts of abuse over a longer period of time, however, juveniles and adults were equally likely to use a given level of force and engage in invasive acts of abuse...

    Child -on -child sexual abuse: An investigation of behavioral and emotional sequelae

    Results: More than half of the children engaging in developmentally unexpected sexual behaviors had been abused both sexually and physically by more than two different perpetrators. One-third of the people who had maltreated these children were less than 18 years old. These children had acted out against an average of two other children. High levels of distress in the children and their caregivers were evident across a number of psychometric and historical variables…

    Developmental and etiological characteristics of children with sexual behavior problems:
    treatment implications

    Results: No differences were found between the two groups for the type of sexual abuse, penetration, or the use of force. CC were younger and more likely to be males who were abused in a school setting, home, or a relative’s home by a sibling or a non-related male. CC endorsed clinically significant sexual preoccupations and manifested borderline clinically significant symptomatology.

    Conclusions: Children victimized by other children manifested elevated levels of emotional and behavioral problems and were not significantly different from those who had been sexually abused by adults…

    Child on child sexual abuse: psychological perspectives

    A Google Boolean search of “child-on-child sexual abuse” + “nz” revealed 6 results, substituting “New Zealand” in gave 8130 hits but nothing on the first couple of pages appeared to be localised. I did find this PDF produced by RPE which includes a brief section:

    Sexual behaviour between children is abusive if:

    • It hurts, frightens or upsets one, or both children
    • One child has greater sexual knowledge than the other child
    • One child uses force, threats, bribery or coercion in order to get
    the other child to participate
    • One child forces another child to keep the behaviour a secret
    • One child does not want to be involved
    • One child is bigger, older and more developmentally advanced
    than the other child.

    Children may behave in sexual ways because they have been
    sexually abused, have witnessed sexual behaviour, or have
    experienced other emotional difficulties. Very often children are
    confused by what they have experienced and do not understand
    what is appropriate behaviour.

    While their behaviour is abusive, these children should not be
    regarded in the same way we regard adults who sexually abuse.
    These children need specialised education and guidance.

    What to do if you’re worried

    • If you have concerns your teenager or child is sexually abusing other
    children you can take the following steps:
    • Stay calm and open minded. Punishment and anger will not help.
    If your child sees you upset and angry, then s/he will not talk
    about it
    • Do not jump to conclusions. Check if it is normal behaviour and do
    not ignore concerning behaviours
    • Don’t assume that the behaviour will go away by itself or that your
    child will “grow out of it”
    • Seek support and help about these issues from specialist agencies
    in your community
    • Ensure your child or teenager is supervised around other children
    until you have talked to a specialist in this area
    • Ask for advice about whether other people need to be told
    • Get help to deal with your own feelings so you can remain
    supportive to your child.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to chris,

    I did some searches last night, there wasn’t much available...

    That last bit of text you quoted which gives advise on how to respond, is in my opinion, healthy advise. The definition of sexual abuse is reasonable. The causality paragraphs, aren't something I'll be paying attention to, apart from being concerned how that kind of pondering, in the absence of real knowledge, might be projected onto innocent child victims of abuse. .

    While their behaviour is abusive, these children should not be
    regarded in the same way we regard adults who sexually abuse.

    This is a really important question: Why?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to steven crawford,

    This is a really important question: Why?

    At a guess: because children's awareness of right and wrong, and ability to control their own impulses, are far less developed than those of adults?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to steven crawford,

    This is a really important question: Why?

    It's a tough question, but the basic answer is: power and responsibility. The power imbalance between a child and an adult is much greater than between a child and an older child. Abuse is abuse, no argument, but a supposedly mature adult is more responsible for their own behaviour than a child or teen, at least under the law. This is why we don't (usually) try children as adults for similar offenses (burglary, arson and the like). We put them through a different process ( Youth Court for example, and Family Conferences). Only really egregious offending (e.g. murder) would usually meet the criteria for adult prosecution of a minor. We accept that children make mistakes and that there are better ways to teach appropriate behaviour.

    Unfortunately for the victim, this makes little difference to their recovery.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2934 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to steven crawford,

    To an extent I also took that as a comment on the way society stigmatises adults who sexually abuse, they are the pariah of the modern age. Even if they serve time and do genuinely reform, there’s still a high likelihood of an aggressive grassroots campaign to ostracize them from the community they’re paroled into.

    There’s a few things that concerned me in the wording of that article none less so than the use of the modal ‘can’ as opposed to something denoting a more obligatory response, this appears to occur throughout (see section: What If Someone You Know Has Sexually Abused A Child In Your Family?). This is fine if the concerned caregiver(s) are willing to act – free from duress – in the best interests of children and the community, but IMHO it doesn’t adequately target those prepared to assist in covering up wrongdoing in order to protect known abusers from the stigmatisation.

    Having said that, it’s difficult to be too critical of RPE when so little information and support seems to be available on this issue.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I am spending my evenings at the moment organising transcriptions of old census data, came across this

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/28397/temple-of-truth-christchurch

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Finding A Voice,

    I have been reading this post with interest. Unfortunately Centrepoint is intimately a part of my life story.

    I have yet to see what I consider to be a genuine heart-felt restorative process occur in regards to Centrepoint's history. One which honours and respects the stories of those who suffered. One which holds those who acted and failed to act accountable for their wrong-doings or naive self-protective looking-away. One which asks for - demands even - honest repentance and humble exploration of the self-obsession and narcissism which enabled these 'kind' and 'loving' people to turn their eyes away while they were busy with the work of 'therapeutic discovery'. One which confronts and exposes the self-protective knee-jerk brush-off by many of the community members of the past (and their associated supporters) when they are now faced with the pain from their daughters and their sons. A restorative journey has not occurred around the shame of Centrepoint and in this vacuum people like me continue to be denied the opportunity to have a voice out of this darkness in our past. Could we enter into a healing process which could challenge the culture of 'don't think, don't talk, and don't feel' which was modelled to us by those adults who had a lot to lose then, and have very much more to lose now if we are allowed the centre stage? I yearn for a brave and entirely kiwi “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” which could have the potential to free us all.

    The following letter was written by me in response to Anke's article in August 2015. I hope it can be received here with respect and honour.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Letter to the Editor
    North & South Magazine
    Sept 2 2015

    I read with great interest the article written in your last issue about Centrepoint Community in Auckland. I lived at Centrepoint in the early 1980s when I was a child. Living at Centrepoint was a harrowing experience for me. As well as having to endure isolated frightening events, I was traumatised by Centrepoint itself. Many things about the community exposed me and terrified me and have left deep scars. It has negatively affected my relationships, and has reverberated down through the years, returning again and again with fresh power to unseat me when I least expect it.

    I feel deep appreciation for those people who bravely shared their stories with Anke Richter. Their daring in speaking out, and risking ridicule and public shame, not to mention the turmoil of their own self-doubt, is to be admired. I hope that this is one more step in their journeys to repair and wholeness. Hearing their stories has given me confidence to share my own in my context, something which has long been overdue. Thank you Anke, for being another voice for justice and for risking your own mental wellbeing to pursue that end. Your article was not just another tiresome delve into an over thrashed story. It made a great difference to me.

    I want to address the adults of Centrepoint and their supporters. The consequences of your choices deeply mattered to us who were entrusted into your care. You will not understand how your ongoing support for Centrepoint over the years meant we had no space in which to tell our stories and how our shame grew as a result. You may never know (or allow yourself to fully consider) the extent to which you caused harm, or allowed harm to occur when you had a responsibility to protect. You stood by (or actively participated) while we were sexually abused - yet you see yourself as good and loving. As we address the wrongs done to us we need you to address this dichotomy within yourself. Our healing is tied up with your honesty.

    In revealing our wounds we may stir you towards compassion, retribution, or repentance. If you let yourself feel those things you expose your own brokenness. It takes enormous courage to be that vulnerable. Are you brave enough to face the darkness inside of yourself?

    —————————————————————————————————————

    Since Nov 2015 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Finding A Voice,

    The following letter was written by me in response to Anke’s article in August 2015. I hope it can be received here with respect and honour.

    Thank you for this, and for braving this space.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Finding A Voice,

    Our healing is tied up with your honesty.

    How very true. I don't see how any of these adults could see themselves as "good and loving" - if they do they are worthless - still thinking only of themselves; their own selfish vanity. They deserve only scorn.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    They deserve only scorn.

    And, the organisations who employ them and give them a legitimised platform deserve an equal measure of scorn.

    Enablers.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Anke Richter, in reply to Finding A Voice,

    Thank you. I have nothing but respect for you and for how you sum up what needs to be addressed. Your powerful words have probably reached more people than you will ever know. I had feedback from a CP woman in Australia wanting to apologize after reading your letter in N&S. This makes me hopeful that a process of reconciliation might be starting, slowly. Thanks again for speaking up.

    Lyttelton • Since May 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Anke Richter,

    I have nothing but respect for you and for how you sum up what needs to be addressed.

    +1. Thank you.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Finding A Voice,

    Quoting Dr M Scott Peck in his 1997 book 'The Road Less Travelled and Beyond' in consideration of the adults of CP who have yet to participate in a restorative process with those adult children who were harmed there:

    "Carl Jung ascribed the root of human evil to "the refusal to meet the Shadow". By "the Shadow", Jung meant the part of our mind containing those things that we would rather not own up to, that we continually hide from ourselves and others and sweep under the rug of our consciousness. Most of us, when pushed against the wall by evidence of our sins, failures or imperfections, will acknowledge our Shadow. But by use of the word "refusal", Jung was implying something far more active. Those who have crossed over the line that separates sin from evil are characterised most by their absolute refusal to tolerate a sense of their own sinfulness. This is because their central defect is not that they have no conscience but that they refuse to bear its pain. In other words, it is not so much the sin itself but the refusal to acknowledge it that makes it evil. In fact, the evil are often highly intelligent people, who may be quite conscious in most respects but have a very specific unwillingness to acknowledge their Shadow... Those who are evil refuse to bear the pain of guilt or to allow the Shadow into consciousness and 'meet' it. Instead, they will set about - often at great effort - militantly trying to destroy the evidence of their sin or anyone who speaks of it or represents it. And in this act of destruction, their evil is committed."

    I believe the harms that occurred at Centrepoint to a selection of its children can be redeemed and healed. I want to encourage and actively participate in a process which brings those who were harmed and those who could have done more to protect them (and who are willing to acknowledge their Shadows), together in order to restore that which was broken within both parties.

    Since Nov 2015 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Finding A Voice,

    I believe the harms that occurred at Centrepoint to a selection of its children can be redeemed and healed. I want to encourage and actively participate in a process which brings those who were harmed and those who could have done more to protect them (and who are willing to acknowledge their Shadows), together in order to restore that which was broken within both parties.

    Do you have any thoughts on how to facilitate that?

    It’s good to have you here on this public forum. We live under an umbrella culture, that prefers to deal with these ugly truths behind closed doors – in ACC funded rooms, psychiatric hospitals, Adiction treatment centers and prisons.

    Passive observers, who for what ever reason, failed to even notice – at the time – that was going on was going to have serios long term consequences. Those ‘passive’ participants, don’t have a lot of easily recognizable outlets to begin to look at the pathologial rationalizing away the need to feel guilty of being naïve many years ago.

    They deserve only scorn.

    The problem with that, is that “they” also have other human qualitys seperatly from being psychologically unwell, among other things.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    We need more education. To allow a better understanding of indoctrination. To be able to recognise it. To be able to walk away.

    It’s problematic in that if we were able to successfully indoctrinate the masses in ways to avoid indoctrination a whole lot of the world’s problems might be solved. Unfortunately we live in societies where I imagine far more money is spent on researching how to indoctrinate people, put to good use in advertising, marketing, education, political campaigns etc.

    I recall emerging from my first Critical Thinking lecture blown away by the impact conjunctions have on a sentence. When presented in that manner the mechanisms seemed so simple that you could probably teach them to an eight year old, but we don’t. Fortune favours the manipulative.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to chris,

    Is the man who is tall happy – The man who is tall is happy – Is the man happy who is tall?

    I watched a Noam Chomsky animation titled one of those last night. I'm going to have to think about it.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

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