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Family violence group asks kiwis not to look away from current news

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The National Network of Family Violence Services NZ is urging people not to bury their heads in the sand to violence as some of the worst cases we have seen in this country are before the courts.

As the nation reels at the horrific details of the cases of Grace Millane, Amber-Rose Rush and Leon Jayet-Cole, it’s easy to feel helpless in the face of the senseless violence and loss of innocent lives, says Takarua Tawera, chairperson of the National Network Family Violence Services NZ.

"It is all too easy to turn away from the horror of those cases by saying, ‘This is not me’. But Grace, Amber-Rose and Leon are us, just as those who are accused of the crimes against them are us."

Along with all New Zealanders, the Network extends our heart and deepest condolences to the families of Grace Millane, Amber-Rose Rush and Leon Jayet-Cole.

You can do something

We need to challenge and encourage ourselves as a nation to "stand up" and call out inappropriate behaviours and activity that leads to aggression and violence in our day-to-day lives. Violence can at times result in death.

Turning a blind eye does not produce solutions: it only enhances the belief "it’s not my problem", which people use to avoid conflict. When people intervene, they are treated with disdain. "Behaviours and activity that lead to violence is never okay."

Supporting our men and boys

As White Ribbon Day approaches on November 25, the National Network fully supports the Event’s Challenge the #Unspoken Rules campaign.

Research tells us that unspoken rules are the outdated societal expectations of what a ‘real’ boy or man is and how he should express himself. Some of these ‘rules’ include:

Boys Don’t Cry Toughen Up Be The Man

"These ‘rules’ can lead boys and men to act disrespectfully or violently," says Mr Tawera, who is also an ambassador for the White Ribbon Trust. "We have the opportunity to use our voices to tell men and boys that it’s okay for them to not repress their emotions and to have respectful relationships. This will help protect our community and help make an impact on Aotearoa’s dire family violence statistics."

Takarua Tawara is a recovered perpetrator of violence and has worked and taught in the Specialist Family Violence sector for many years. He is available for interview by contacting Paulette Crowley at or 027 231 5970.

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