Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Fringe of Darkness

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  • Danielle, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I know what oxytocin is. I've only recently stopped wearing maternity bras. But it's actually deeply weird to place all the responsibility for nurturing and protection on women and then "other" men as people that aren't emotionally and morally invested in protecting their own kids. Why are we divesting them of that responsibility? It's the sort of approach we used during the temperance movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Shit, there’s a lot to unpack there, but I simply can’t agree that a psychopathology book about the chief abuser is somehow more valid than one that bears witness to the wider story .

    I wasn't referring to what might be more valid (from an investigative journalistic perspective for the purposes of a mainstream commercial publication), but rather what might be more useful/healing to the victims.

    One thing that stood out in the Metro article was this statement:

    “In the end,” he says, gripping his coffee mug hard, “guys will just be wanking over your stories.”

    That kind of exemplifies the point I'm making.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Not the same story, but all part of the same story really: the High Court has rejected two sisters’ request to be able to name the man who abused them. I am so very very angry for them. How can this be justice when it feels so deeply wrong?
    Sorry, I know this is not exactly on-topic. Clearly this ruling was more of a trigger for me than the Centrepoint story, and outlets are helpful. As you were.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Horror and anger in our home too.

    http://notmyshame.squarespace.com/

    Strong women.

    This is not justice....this is enabling.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Curses, my edit took too long:

    I say it's all part of the same story because it's related to the broader question of who gets to tell their stories, when, and what it means for victims and perpetrators when the case is put in the media again decades later. These sisters were abused at much the same time as the Centrepoint abuse was going on (1971-1978). The case went to court at a similar time (1994). Some of the sentence lengths at Centrepoint were of a similar short length. The survivors of Centrepoint can name their abusers, but because of a small judicial error way 20 years ago, these two women cannot.

    One of the other reasons the judge gave was that the women took so long to bring the matter to court. That's about equivalent to saying that cases of sexual abuse shouldn't be pursued because the abused have waited until they're adults to report it: in this case, the women didn't know the man had suppression at all - they believed he did not.

    The judge effectively ruled that publishing the offender's name now would mean he was punished again. He has failed to take into account that no publishing the offender's name means the two women are victimised again. Sexual assault is all about power, and the judge has again told this man's power over his life is more important than theirs. Angry, angry, angry.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Anke Richter, in reply to ,

    Steven, thank you for all your comments here and your empathy.

    Lyttelton • Since May 2007 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I've only just caught up with this, and what a wonderful piece of writing and a very necessary and worthwhile project.
    The collective history of "therapy" in New Zealand took many years to untangle themselves from Centrepoint, and Bert's approaches caused many splits and problems in the profession at the time. But for me the value of this work, is to not forget the history and to not allow it to be repressed.

    People like John Potter and his wife Dr. Felicity Goodyear-Smith, a GP at CP at the time of the abuses, still try to exert direct influence over how sexual crime is treated and prosecuted in New Zealand and fight back hard and fast when attempts to out this are made. FGS was involved for some time with the ACC Sensitive Claims process, or at least in the attempts to destroy it (see: http://psychotherapy.org.nz/ideology-of-denial/ ).

    One of my scarier moments, and something I know feel proud of was getting attacked on the menz site. But the scary thing is there is still a blanket of denial by many over the impact of what happened there, and active attempts to repress it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    FGS was involved for some time with the ACC Sensitive Claims process, or at least in the attempts to destroy it

    I’d only had a vague recollection of the name Centrepoint or Bert Potter when I read this thread – so googled for a better background and one of the things I came across was this article;

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/features/4069062/Conflicting-interests

    And thought OMG, OMG, OMG – and it gave me one more reason to despise this National government executive even more. Appointments/contacts for folks with real or perceived conflicts of interest can’t get much worse than that one. I believe the threshold in law, when you are at the decision-making end of a regulatory process – is perceived conflict of interest (in other words a very low threshold), so to my mind, legally, she should likely never have been given the contract being married (or even in a relationship) with a convicted offender. Regardless of her qualification.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Rosie W, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It’s hard to credit now how accepted and acceptable Centrepoint was within a wider hippyish community.

    At my intermediate school in the late 80's, the Centrepoint bus lined up along with the bus to Dairy Flat and Paremoremo. Our school swimming sports were hosted at Centrepoint. It was part of the school community too.

    I'm gutted now, thinking about the kids who were in my class and what they were going through at the time. I see events advertised at the rebranded complex - outdoor play and exploration for kids - but I can't stomach it at all.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Yes, that was a great piece of journalism by Tim Hume, and pretty much put a stop to any further influence with ACC. It was beyond shocking that she had been let anywhere near the treatment of sexual abuse survivors.
    Working with Tim on the story I experienced first hand at the time the anxiety, nausea and paranoia that Anke talks about, being slandered on John Potters website was actually quite frightening, and it was a brave editorial decision by the SST to run with the story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    We really need something like a Royal Commission into historic child abuse. They have now got them in Australia and the UK. Child abuse was rife in the state institutions and probably just as widespread in society generally as in other countries. Needs to be really safe though.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Yes it was a great piece of journalism. Extremely informative. Congrats to SST for running with it. So glad it had the effect it did wrt ACC involvement. Yes, the use of social media sites to discredit/slander scientists, academics and other professionals is a disturbing and scary issue for those who experience it.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Yes, that was a great piece of journalism by Tim Hume, and pretty much put a stop to any further influence with ACC. It was beyond shocking that she had been let anywhere near the treatment of sexual abuse survivors.

    Do you think she's been able to maintain credibility through attachment to the cases of Peter Ellis and George Gwaze?

    I'm convinced Ellis actually was the victim of false memory syndrome, thanks to the incredibly inappropriate interview processes employed in the investigation, and it does seem Gwaze was charged because the authorities misinterpreted acute HIV-related symptoms.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Thanks for contributing on this topic. Had no idea about that conflict of interest. I've fixed your link too - this site's software doesn't like other characters like ) straight afer a url. Adding a space between them fixes that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well there's a lot in that so forgive my long answer. I have no doubt she has credibility as an expert witness for the defence, which at it's simplest is a reason for her to not be involved with treatment of sexual abuse survivors. I also have no doubt that Ellis is likely innocent, the Gwaze case I'm not very familiar with but Ellis seems a miscarriage of justice. I do have a problem with the whole concept of "False Memory Syndrome" though in that it reifies something in a very unhelpful way. It is true that interview techniques of children used to be problematic and that children are inherently more suggestible that adults (although adults are too).

    It's also true that false testimony happens, but the whole "movement" behind FMS was the extension of that to the point of undermining the existence of child sexual abuse, and over representing the false accusations of sexual violence.
    If you read through some of the troubling stuff on John Potters website you'll see how this ends up being pulled to it's extreme, including accusing therapists and counsellors of being involved in the "Sexual abuse industry" and drumming up business.

    And this is the guts of my problem with FGS: She actively represents anti-abuse as a position.

    She was the Community GP on CP when the sexual abuse of children was happening, she would've known about it and would've come across medical evidence of it, and as such had a ethical and professional duty to report it as it's illegal. In not doing so she breached her code of ethics and should've been sanctioned, and had her licence revoked. Instead she marries Bert Potter's son, maintains a close relationship with Bert, and sets about writing academic papers about, for instance, how it is "possible" to contract STI's as a child without sexual contact. (seriously) and teaches at the University of Auckland.

    So yes she has credibility and is an expert in getting men accused of sexual abuse off, some of whom are innocent. But she has a very questionable moral and professional background.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    Thanks Sacha!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Yes, that was a great piece of journalism by Tim Hume, and pretty much put a stop to any further influence with ACC. It was beyond shocking that she had been let anywhere near the treatment of sexual abuse survivors.

    Colour me surprised, her husband is active in ‘MRA’ circles, who still downplay Bert Potter’s wrongdoings. I read that link so you don’t have to.

    Most of those who speak for ‘men’s rights’ aren’t really speaking up for actual men’s rights, but something more akin to ‘divine rights’.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • lynne walker, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Really outrageous that she gets to do what she does. I don't understand how that can happen and how she wasn "t struck off her professional list.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2011 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to lynne walker,

    My thoughts when reading this post, and Anke's article, and following all the obvious links (may take some time to get over some of it)...?

    Regarding FGS....

    Who appointed this woman to this post?

    Why?

    Kinda brings the entire faculty into disrepute.

    PS...I am an inveterate googler...I did NOT for a second even consider doing any kind of search on the un named actress...she said "no".

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    But she has a very questionable moral and professional background.

    And I found this quote from the SST article interesting:

    (Goodyear-Smith was charged with perjury in 1992; she writes that she was acquitted.)

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/features/4069062/Conflicting-interests

    Use of parentheses theirs.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Ellis seems a miscarriage of justice. I do have a problem with the whole concept of “False Memory Syndrome” though in that it reifies something in a very unhelpful way. It is true that interview techniques of children used to be problematic and that children are inherently more suggestible that adults (although adults are too).

    My understanding of the Ellis case is that there’s no doubt the children were abused – but by the bizarre ‘counselling’ methods, not by Ellis. A disaster for all concerned.

    I'm looking forward to reading Beck Eleven's cover article in the new North & South on Peter Ellis. I think the case won't go away until there's a proper inquiry into how the 'counselling' and police investigation could go so far off the rails.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • Anke Richter,

    Kyle, thanks for adding your well informed comments and insights about FGS. I was of course aware of the controversy around her but had to leave that whole aspect out of my story.And she wasn't available for an interview. After the SST story came out, she let North&South interview her for a long feature which put her in a much better light - a good PR move on her part. Since then she has not been available for any media, as far as I know, especially not in regards to Centrepoint (she downplays that connection).

    Lyttelton • Since May 2007 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Anke Richter,

    Yes, that was a very orchestrated piece in North and South. I was surprised Donna Chisholm gave her such free reign to essentially put forth an unbalanced "PR" piece as you suggest. Good work on the article, sorry to hear of your arduous experience, and happy to fill in some further gaps.

    Interestingly Chisolm went on to write a very "anti" counselling piece in N&S a year or so later, which seemed too much of a coincidence. I heard a rumour they were friends, but have no idea if that was true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    I do have a problem with the whole concept of “False Memory Syndrome” though in that it reifies something in a very unhelpful way. It is true that interview techniques of children used to be problematic and that children are inherently more suggestible that adults (although adults are too).

    I've never looked at it the same way since I saw a presentation by Dr Maryanne Garry of VUW at a Skeptics conference, which was literally about how false memories can be quite easily created, particularly through repeated interviewing. Although the key message from that is, of course, using proper interview techniques.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

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