July 09, 2018
Black lesson abusers hard to spot
A former head of Women’s Refuge says it can be hard to recognise an abuser, even if you think you know someone well.
The Māori world has been shocked by accusations by Anihera Black, the widow of Te Awanui Black, that the former Bay of Plenty regional councilor and Māori cultural expert preyed upon children throughout his adult life.
Merepeka Raukawa Tait says the revelation was a long time coming, given that Māoridom lacks a safe environment to confront abusers.
She says as someone who knew Mr Black, she understands why nobody picked his as an abuser.
"Nobody is looking for it. That's the other thing too. I was part of a Christian political party and the leader ended up in jail for very similar accusations that were proved guilty. People accused me and said 'surely you must have seen it.' The fact is you don't look for it. You believe you know a person and you don't look for these things," Mrs Raukawa Tait says.
She says whatever comes out of Anihera Black’s specific allegations, her courage in coming forward has empowered may others to share their stories or question the behaviour of others.
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