Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Child abuse - I'm over it

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A Ngaruawahia home was the site of New Zealand's latest child fatality. Photo / Alan Gibson
A Ngaruawahia home was the site of New Zealand's latest child fatality. Photo / Alan Gibson

Every Mother's Day the spotlight goes on much-loved mums who will be pampered today by their gorgeous kids, with the help of doting fathers.

Memories will be made as the children prepare a (mostly inedible) breakfast on a tray laden with presents that have been agonised over for days.

Mother's Day is more a day for the children than it is for mums - all mums with healthy, beautiful children have a mother's day every day that their children stay safe and happy.

But this year - sorry to be a spoil sport - let's turn the spotlight on those mothers who are abject failures. All those mothers who haven't got a clue who their children's sperm donors were. All those mothers who have children because they get paid to - and, let's face it, they wouldn't get paid to do anything else. Those mothers who stay with men who hurt them and their kids because they're so pathetic and useless that any shag - even when it comes with a biff - is better than being alone.

This Mother's Day, I would plead that every mother who has had a child that they don't care about or can't cope with gets the help that they need.

If they can't cope with the children, ring family - or ring the Cyfs helpline if they can't trust their families.

If they're in an abusive relationship where they're being harmed and their children are being indelibly scarred, again, seek the help of family and friends or seek the help of the multitude of agencies that are there for you.

I appreciate that breaking the cycle is difficult if you've always been the victim, but come to terms with what being a mother is. My definition, and that of all the mothers I know, is to love your babies and keep them safe. And yet so many women in this country fail at the job of being a mother.

How many more beautiful babies will we get to know because they've been killed by those who should have been protecting them?

This week's dead baby is Serenity Scott-Dinnington of Ngaruawahia, but don't bother committing her name to memory - there'll be another dead baby's name in the paper soon and Serenity will be just another statistic.

And don't expect those responsible to be punished. Remember 22-month-old Hail-Saige McClutchie, who died after being born into a family with a horrendous history of child abuse? Two years later, no one has been held responsible. Don't even mention the Kahuis.

Serenity died the most unserene death you can imagine and this week her little body was released to the family for burial. It seems incomprehensible that she was released to the family, given it is possible one of them killed her.

Couldn't she have been released to a couple desperately trying to have children but who were unable to do so and unable to adopt? Weird suggestion I know, but at least they'd understand how precious this baby girl was, as opposed to the family she had the great misfortune to end up with.

When you look at the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent by desperate women going through IVF procedures to become mothers, and the millions of dollars being spent by the taxpayer because dumb, stupid, needy, dysfunctional slappers are failing at being mothers, surely even Christians must wonder if there's a god.

I've been writing columns and banging on on talkback for more than 13 years about this and I am so, so sick of railing against the abomination that is child abuse in this country.

So this will be my last column on the subject. What I do is utterly futile.

I hope that the Government's initiative to award first-time mums three extra Plunket visits in the first two months of their babies' lives will make a difference - but I doubt it.

Only the people who are within that sick little circle of abuse can make a difference, and they won't.

The neighbour of Serenity's family who spoke to police and journalists about the family had "NARK" painted on her fence, apparently because amongst these dysfunctional inbreds it's wrong to speak out against a baby being murdered.

I don't know how the emergency staff and support services keep going. Maybe because they do make changes in ways we don't, and will never, hear about.

But for me - all these years, all the words, all this pain and all this anger hasn't made a blind bit of difference.

I'll continue to support the teen-parent units at schools and Shine and the Hippy programmes - those organisations trying to effect change - in whatever way I can. But no more words. When it comes to child abuse, words mean absolutely nothing.

- Herald on Sunday

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