Laws of Feral Love
Laws' opinion piece 'Love among ferals' is tragic. It is tragic because it is true.
Once past the hook, Life in Welly vs. Auck & the rest of NZ, the tragic tale of Ana Eriepa is sketched.
'Ana Eriepa. Three months ago she was placed in the boot of her new car by her deranged, drugged boyfriend - fell out - and was then dragged 1.7 kilometres behind the car as he zoomed off.
Ana is now missing a foot, has multiple skin grafts, a slowly healing scalp and her right thumb is stuffed for good. Considering her ordeal, she is very lucky to be alive.
Yeah, but Ana is fine. Because she is in love. She is in love with Sonny - the same bad-ass boyfriend who maimed and mutilated her. "He's actually a good boy," she says. "He has a good heart".
And she turned up in court last week to support him as he battles lawyers and the justice system to be there for her. As Sonny Waiti romantically explains it: he only gave her the bash and put her in the boot, because he loves her.
Who are we to deny true love? In their gang-influenced world - where at least one of her six kids is already publicly proclaiming his Mongrel Mob loyalties - you don't really know someone loves you, until they put you in the boot of your car.
And maim you. Against that the minor differences in age - she's 37, he's 26 - is irrelevant. Or that they had known each other for only a couple of weeks before the beating.
Yeah, but he was on drugs, Ana excuses. He'd just come out of prison and was on a bit of a booze-drugs binge. Perfectly understandable. Not his fault - it was the drugs.'
But it doesn't end there - mentioned in the piece are Ana's six kids. One already publically affiliated, five to go. It is the children from these kind of 'families' who feature in the next article.
A tentative attribution to violent video games and cartoons, but please - kids who have watched no TV are a minority as are sociopaths and there is no way what so ever any child is stood down over one incident - so what is really going on?
I don't for a moment think this can be attributed to games, tv or even an occasional incidence of family violence (and no I'm not condoning ANY family violence). This is an endemic apathy of care.
Homes are safe places where warmth and empathy are shown and learnt. These kids don't live in homes. There is an absence of comfort, routine, stability & reliability, beds of shared bare mattresses and no food security.
3rd Degree interviewed Ana, you can watch it here Third Degree , again Ana removed responsibility from Sonny, and says it was her fault for getting out of the boot of the car. He didn't see her in his blind spot, she's sure of this, as he drags he down the road. He's good to her and the kids... I'd hate to see what he's like if he was being 'bad' to her and the kids.
This happened after a four day meth binge, when he came home he was paranoid and demanded she drive him somewhere. And she did. There is no mention of where her kids are, who is caring for them while she is pandering to her boyfriend's drug induced psychosis.
The tragedy here is Ana knows no better. Home as a warm safe place is as far from Ana's reality as living as a Queen in a Castle is to you and I. Ana's kids know no better. They see how she allows herself to be treated and this is the modelling they learn from, and most likely they will go on to treat their partners and kids in the same way.
Alan Duff spoke of this life in his books, a description of a cycle has always stayed with me. These men (like Sonny) have no respect for these women (like Ana) for accepting them (the men) into their lives. This is not a direct quote and of course Alan Duff's description was much more poignant. There is a significant portion of out society living like this. It is not 'cultural' and it is not 'poverty'. It is primordial and will only change with intervention.
This is why I support Whanau Ora and I would like to see it expanded. Ana is entitled to make her own decisions, she will use (like the rest of us) the information she has available to her to make the best decision for her and her family at that time. Our society needs to ensure Ana, and others like her, have better information to make better decisions. Then we will see an improvement in the appalling abuse statistics NZ should be ashamed of.