A cup of tea with Tangiwai
This video is very important to Tangiwai.
Because she can not bare the thought of another child enduring the pain that she has been through.
We met Tangiwai, by chance, as she walked by our big yellow bus and was curious about what it was. She had just been to visit her doctor to get her meds relating to PTSD. “I can tell you all about abuse” she said.
For the following couple of hours, I cried as I heard her life story.
We later visited her at her housing NZ home. As we walked up the echoey hallway to her upstairs flat she apologised for the sounds of an argument coming from the unit below. Noises which form a common backdrop to normal day-to-day life for people in homes such as these.
The next thing I noticed is the loud music as we walked through her door. It has become apparent to us as we travel that filling the air with noise is very common for people who have suffered abuse. I realised how privileged I am to be comfortable in silence.
We are quickly humbled by her thankfulness for having a (very basic) home to live in. When we moved from the kitchen (the part of the interview shown here) we continued our conversation on the floor of her home as there were not enough seats for the 3 of us to sit on. Yet Tangiwai repeatedly told us how grateful she is.
In the clip we have shown you today, we don’t go specifically into the details of what she went through as a child. We hope however, you can gain a teeny tiny glimpse of the hard stuff resulting from no one stepping up to advocate for her as a child.
It is easy to meet people like Tangiwai and write her off, completely unaware of the fact that she was robbed of her childhood and yet we have high expectations of her as an adult.
Tangiwai has dreams and aspirations, just like many of us. She dreams of being a designer one day.
In cases like this -too often the sexual abuse is not dealt with until years later when the victim is an adult (through the courts); there are often further violent relationships, drug alcohol abuse, homelessness, loss of own children. Tangiwai went through all of this and more.
If only you knew the courage it took for Tangiwai to share this, the anxieties that will fill her head following us posting this. If you are aware that something is not right with a child, step up – their future, generations to come and society as a whole is affected by this.
Thank you Tangiwai, you are truly inspirational.