Candle light vigil for victims of abuse

By Rowena Orejana

More than 100 victims of domestic violence and child abuse all over the country will be remembered at a candle light vigil at Mangere Mountain tomorrow morning, Thursday June 21.

The event, on the first day of Matariki, is being held at 6am when candles will be lit as each of the victims' names are called out.

"The reality of all the names called out will be a shock to many. To think that in our country, we have lost so many innocent victims at the hands of mainly whanau," says Raewyn Bhana, manager of the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network.

The SAFVPN, NZ Police and Child Youth and Family committee for Matariki Candle Vigil have been meeting for the past three months to put this event together.

Ms Bhana explains the event is partly to raise awareness and educate people on the issue of domestic violence.

"There have already been four children killed this year through child abuse and we are only in the sixth month," she says.

David White, whose daughter Helen Mead was killed by her abusive husband, will attend the ceremony. He is an ambassador for White Ribbon, an organisaton against domestic violence.

White Ribbon Bike Riders are riding from Wairarapa and Tauranga for the event.

The solemn occasion will begin with karakia (dawn prayers) led by the Mana Whenua. Marama Hetaraka and George Ngatai, SAFVPN co-chairs will read out the names as candles are being lit.

Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples and NZ Police Superintendent John Tims will give short speeches.

Ms Bhana says this vigil is similar to the one held five years ago and they are now hoping to make it an annual event.

"The 100 plus names that will be read out are 100 plus too many that have been killed through child abuse and domestic violence," she says.

Statistics in New Zealand

  • In New Zealand most violence towards women takes place in the home.

  • In violence between couples, it is men's violence that is most likely to cause serious physical or psychological harm.

  • An average of 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners

  • There are more than 3500 convictions recorded against men each year for assaults on women.

  • One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives.

    Source: White Ribbon


- The Aucklander

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