In past days, we have heard some of the most appalling testimony from the Abuse in Care Royal Commission Inquiry.
Joan Bellingham was put in hospital care for more than 12 years and subjected to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in excess of 200 times - for being a lesbian. She told the inquiry the struggle for redress was "almost as bad as the original abuse".
One survivor, who testified under a nom de plume, was at Manawaroa Unit and Lake Alice Hospital, where he was sexually, physically and psychologically abused in his early teens during the 1970s. Sorrowfully, he died of cancer during the Covid-19 lockdown and his account had to be read to the inquiry.
Leonie McInroe was a patient in the child and adolescent unit at Lake Alice over 18 months from 1975 to 1976, when she was aged 14 and 15. During that time she was "punished" with ECT and anti-psychotic medication. On seeking compensation, she was intimidated into a mediation process with the psychiatrist. "I felt just as intimidated and vulnerable as I had experienced being in Lake Alice."
Many people and organisations - survivors, community leaders, iwi and Māori, the Human Rights Commission and the United Nations - called for an inquiry into abuse in care from 1950-1999 in New Zealand for many years.
It has been a long time coming. For many victims and survivors, far too long.
The inquiry is expected to continue through until 2023. These are only the first mortifying steps in a long walk towards the sunlight for some of our most wretchedly mistreated citizens.