Silence of the rams

A WHITE New Zealander sits on a couch and spreads his legs from the knees, feet close together. He forms his arms, heavily tattooed, into a downward circle. “They would make us sit down between their legs, and they would put their feet between our legs,” he tells Islands Business. “If we tried to move, they would- ” he jerks his heels back, hard, thumping against the bottom of the couch “ -kick us in the balls.”

In his late 50’s, the man is demonstrating a method of abuse used against him and other boys, when they were children under state care. He recounts the memory flatly, without emotion, eyes expressionless. Rolls a cigarette from homegrown tobacco.

“And that was just one of the minor things, not counting all the other stuff they did to us.” He stares back, no anger, silent, like a ram in a field. That silence is an ingrained part of New Zealand culture, hiding numerous Maori and Pacific Islands victims, but many Europeans as well.

learwater, commenting on the official Facebook page for MSSAT, the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse a trust he founded.

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