Posts by Finding A Voice

  • Up Front: Fringe of Darkness, in reply to putting the pieces together,

    If you are still checking in here and are interested 'Putting the Pieces Together' then have a look at this and consider getting involved

    Since Nov 2015 • 5 posts Report

  • Up Front: Fringe of Darkness, in reply to putting the pieces together,

    I regret I didn’t have the understanding or strength to really recognise or effect the abuse going on with the younger generation there, preoccupied by my own particular confusion and grief and influenced by dominating power plays perpetuated there.

    Thank you so much for opening yourself up to the introspection required in responding to this conversation. I appreciate how vulnerable this must make you feel. Exploring the mistakes you made while you were in a place of personal struggle and the impact your lack of action and inattention may have had on others will be a hard experience to go through. It must be very confusing indeed to unpack it all now.

    There is a community of people that has persisted since Centrepoint closed; the shadow community of those who have been branded by the experiences they had whilst they were weak and unprotected whilst there. You were considerably less weak than I, but you were still damaged and in this we can be allies. I'm really not sure how this community of damaged people can journey towards restoration together but I am glad you have taken a step here to participate and I encourage you in your journey

    Since Nov 2015 • 5 posts Report

  • Up Front: Fringe of Darkness, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    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.

    I think it is far more complex and nuanced than that. I feel a lot more for them than just scorn. Many of these passive by-standers are our mothers and fathers, whom we have ongoing relationships with, relationships which we must navigate as we live our lives and raise our children near them, under the shadow of Centrepoint. While it is tempting to just throw them away with contempt, it is not tenable for many of us, and not conducive for our own wellbeing.

    Were I there at Centrepoint as an adult, striped of my internal and external resources, struggling with some recent grief like a divorce or separation, parenting alone and perhaps with a significant mental illness, bullied by people in the community which much greater strength and desperate for support, I too may have made some very compromised choices to protect my interests in that position of weakness. The nature of Centrepoint was that it attracted very vulnerable people who were drawn to a community who often did a very good job of supporting people that society didn't look after well, at a time when solo parents and people with mental illness (and other outliers) were very socially peripheral and judged highly. These vulnerable people were often referred there by respected professionals who thought the therapeutic approach CP had could provide a healing environment for people who were often very damaged.

    The things that motivate people to do - or not to do - what they do are complicated. Some of those adults did try at the time, within their constraints, to change things for the children. It wasn't enough, and it didn't alleviate the suffering that we endured, but I would be very careful not to judge them for actions (or lack of actions) in the past that we simply cannot understand well. Judgement is easy. Mercy and forgiveness, on the other hand, are hard.

    Those who actively engaged in predatory behaviour are in one camp (the Bert Potters of the community) - and I don't have much hope of reaching into their damaged psyches to try to draw out some sort of repentance from them. The other camp however holds those people who participated in a system which both served their interests, and also damaged them as well, and they now live with the knowledge that their engagement in this system has left people like myself and my fellows with enduring brokenness... Well, they are the ones I would like to reach out towards.

    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.

    I do have thoughts on this; it isn't enough that these adult participators said something remorseful at one time or another to a child victim here or there; this remorse needs to be public, enduring, and it needs reach. Without reach it would fail to connect with people like me (who have no contact at all with CP people now). There is enormous power in my pain being truly seen, acknowledged and honoured, and especially by the ones who contributed to it. They have the choice about whether or not they engage in a process that makes them deeply vulnerable to attack, but offers that healing gift to us the victims. I am developing an idea for an on-line platform for this process of connecting those who were damaged to those who could have done more to protect. A platform that avoids condemnation, attack, anger and aggression, but instead works towards reconciliation and redemption. I am not sure if there are enough brave CP-victims, and brave CP-collaborators to make this work, but I think it is worth trying. This is a shameful part of our history - why not fight to restore it?

    Since Nov 2015 • 5 posts Report

  • Up Front: Fringe of Darkness,

    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

  • Up Front: Fringe of Darkness,

    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