I am so disappointed with your public comments on the brave efforts of opposition MP’s this week, and the cheap shots you are taking at their sincerity. It may not be true in your circles that politicians can be genuine, sincere and there for the right reasons – our people – our survivors – but it is true of those who spoke out this week.
You are being wilfully blind. I say that because the encyclopaedia of work the Greens and some in Labour have done on sexual violence before Tuesday is quite immense.
You’ve forgotten the Everyone needs the right help campaign where many of us stood up as survivors to show it affects everyone. We fronted for a campaign where our photos and stories were shared around the world – that’s not easy, but we did it.
You’ve forgotten how hard and loud we fought for changes to our justice system that would deliver real justice instead of the unworkable system we have now that victimises everyone.
You’ve forgotten that many of our female MP’s openly came to Parliament with a background working with survivors of sexual & family violence.
Search for sexual & family violence terms in our press releases and you’ll get more than 834 results. Who has stood up to Nationals cuts to survivor services every single time over the last 7 years? We have.
And as for being someone special – unfortunately they know all too well how common our experiences are – which is exactly why these wonderful SURVIVORS – not victims thank you – how dare you tell us we are still victims – stood up to John Key to show every single survivor of sexual & family violence in NZ – and around the world – that they are not alone, that successful women are survivors too, that rape is not a joke, or an insult to be thrown around – but is a devastating event that all too many have to recover from.
That is an incredibly powerful thing to do – and wisely, most powerful women in this country have congratulated them, or at least kept a dignified silence out of respect for their experiences.
Perhaps you are a survivor. I don’t say that to take a cheap pot-shot, but because it’s sadly very possible. Perhaps you have lived in a world where surviving sexual violence is a shameful thing. You certainly do live in that world where we ‘do not speak of it’ and internalise it forever, and consider women who do speak out ‘attention seekers’ who better produce a police report, or they are deemed liars.
Well, I’m sorry, but a lot of us don’t live in that world – won’t live in that world – won’t be ashamed – won’t be silenced – won’t be told we’re victims. Some of us realise that the only good thing that comes out of sexual and family violence is the ability to ensure those without a voice know they are not alone, that people do care about what happened to them, that they have access to help, and that they can survive and thrive.
With true sincerity, which can co-exist with politics,
(Rachael Goldsmith is a 2x Green Party candidate, office holder & Policy Committee member who co-authored their Women’s Policy. She is also a sexual & family violence survivor, and an advocate for survivors of violence.)