A little while ago I blogged about Kelvin Davis’s Facebook post about his aims as a returning MP. One of his four priorities upon his return to Parliament is to confront the issue of sexual and physical violence towards women in society. Ae he said in the Facebook post:
Priority 4: Stopping sexual, physical and emotional abuse of women and children, and yes to men as well.
I was outraged with the Roastbusters scandal and the well publicized sexual abuse/ pedophile cases in Kaitaia over the last few years.
He went on to say that he waited to see and hear a male MP stand up and say something needed to be done. But, as history tells, this didn’t really happen.
Yesterday Kelvin sent the following tweets:
Now, I don’t think Kelvin is suggesting that sexual violence is free from complex causes. But he does have a point, that spending too much time over thinking the issues is going to delay finding solutions. It is about finding steps we can take now, that will help move things forward, while also looking for more significant steps that can be taken. As one of his other tweets points out, this isn’t just about sexual violence, it is about all the other knock on effects that it causes.
Kelvin was pretty blunt about his views on the issue. But this is one time where I think it is called for, and attracts good attention to the issue, as opposed to distracting from it.
Seeing these tweets prompted me to contact Kelvin to get a bit more information him about what it was he aimed to achieve, as well as the role he saw social media playing in support of achieving that goal. I am going to reproduce the first part of his email unedited.
I’ll give you a bit of a story (although not the full one) around my stance on Sexual Violence.When I was principal at Kaitaia Intermediate School I heard over one three week period of 13 girls being sexually abused. I was outraged and called a hui of surrounding principals and agencies including police etc and told them about this.The question was asked “So what do you hope to achieve from this.” and I said “I just want to blow the issue out of the water, and draw attention to the issue.” There was an awkward silence and a principal asked me “Have you given any thought to what may come out of the woodwork if you do this and do we have the resources to address it all.”I was taken aback, and said, “well no” and someone said “don’t you think you better?” and I replied, (still a bit stunned), “well ok, maybe I had better give this some thought and reconvene the hui in a couple of weeks. So I stopped the meeting and they all couldn’t get out of the room fast enough.It’s case of coulda, shoulda, woulda, but I didn’t reconvene the meeting..
Reflecting on my time in parliament 2008-11, I have had time to really think about what difference I made aside from helping constituents with issues etc. And I struggled to find anything of significance (in my defence being a new opposition list MP doesn’t provide much opportunity).
….it is the best and fastest way I know of to get the message out to a wider audience, to promote discussion, raise awareness and help people to protect themselves and their children, family and friends from sexual abusers.I could write a letter to the editor of the local rag everyday and hope he runs it, but when a ton of followers retweet or share what I write then I get better cut through. The language can be a little more earthy and if I can emotionally move people, and be controversial then they are likely to respond and retweet or share and the message gets out there.