Enormous gratitude to Anke Richter and North & South ("Inside the Mind of a Centrepoint Abuser", July 2021) for aiding the illumination of the dark story of Centrepoint, for the ramifications are wide, and deep, and the suffering continues.
I am married to one of the original, long-term child residents of Centrepoint, whose mother was a founding member and became one of Bert Potter's right-hand women. We lived with her on the Potter property in the early 2000s, and engaged with older Centrepoint members, including John Potter's wife Felicity Goodyear-Smith. (That this woman still holds a position of power within the Auckland University Medical School is, to me, deeply shocking.) For many years my husband (with soul-destroying consequences) and I have lived with the kind of arrogant denial, blame-shifting and victim-shaming arising from the beliefs elucidated in this interview.
Over these decades living within the Centrepoint story, I was often confused. Why were those who were there minimising what seemed outrageously dodgy where kids were concerned? I know now that we too were "therapised" (my husband's term), often subtley and skillfully. We were unduly needy, and wrong to draw attention to it, for they had moved on.
Thanks John, for letting it all hang out. Now we know how sexual predators construct their reality to justify their own perversions and minimise and hide their sexual shame.
And kia kaha Louise Winn.
As Centrepoint children's voices begin to be heard, and the horrors of the psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse (not to mention neglect) are finally acknowledged so that true healing may begin, here's hoping more insidious justifications and shameful abnegations of responsibility like this are revealed and challenged.
Letter of the Month
North & South