Published here at The Daily Blog.
Yesterday the Herald informed us that Tony Veitch’s life is on the up and up; it’s a shame we can’t say the same for New Zealand’s gender-based violence intervention services.
When the Roast Busters situation came to our attention, we rallied in the streets and together produced a significant petition response against the normalization of rape; yet two Asian migrant women were violently murdered in Wellington last month – both as victims of domestic violence and both with standing protection orders against their abusers – and there has been barely a whimper about the terrible failing of our government to prioritise safety for migrants.
Roughly 10% of people who live in Wellington are of Asian, Middle-eastern or African descent and when it comes to domestic violence they are a particularly vulnerable group. Many new migrants have limited family, friend or community support and are also isolated by virtue of language; so for them, “reaching out” when they fear for their safety is particularly difficult. Yet despite the fact that this minority group is so huge, there is only one organisation that provides culturally specific services – Shakti Ethnic Women’s Support Wellington – and that organisation so grossly underfunded they can barely fund a volunteer-run drop in centre; let alone a culturally-specific refuge service that the area so desperately needs. The situation is critical. Between 2011-2012 alone, Shakti Wellington catered to over 300 women and children. They need funds to set up a specialist refuge, and they need them now.
Shakti Community Council say:
“Mainstream agencies are not responsible for the issues stemming from the communities that we come from. They lack the specialist knowledge and skills required to service ethnic women. This is the responsibility for us to protect our own women, children, young people and families to speak out against abuse and reach out for help before it’s too late. And we need the support from local and central government to enable us to sustain and service victim-survivors before it’s too late.
Enough is enough.
We are seeking a cross-party response including the Opposition Parties on this issue.
We want to see:
~ This and next government to make migrant & refugee women and children’s safety needs a priority
~ Funding of essential and critical domestic violence intervention services, including a specialist safehouse for migrant and refugee women and children in Wellington
~ Pressure on the existing government to address this gap in Wellington’s social services sector.”
And I think they should get it.
New Zealand is in a unique situation with an expansive and diverse population. And the safety needs of our diverse communities are being ignored. To me it seems that while the media is giving so much air to the nonsensical ramblings of Colin Craig, there are absolutely serious issues that need to be attended to and are not being addressed. The next government needs to make not-failing-women and marginalized genders a priority, because while Paula Bennett and John grapple for the dollar and make their key tasks the obsequious micro-management of vulnerable single parents – in this rich country – women are getting killed out there and do you know what? We all agree it is not OK.
There will be a candlelight vigil held in remembrance of Sarwan Lata Singh and Mei Fan in Wellington for those who wish to attend:
Related links Press release by Shakti:
Case for Sarwan Lata Singh:
Case for Mei Fan:
Shakti Community Council Inc.: