There is still some awful ongoing realities which persist amongst the wreckage that remains of the Centrepoint Community. These are some of those realities:
Justice has occurred for very few ex-child residents who were sexually abused while living at Centrepoint Community.
Abuse that occurred there was not always secret. It was often condoned, and at times encouraged by care-givers.
A culture that normalised sexual activity for children has subsequently made it hard for stories to be shared, experiences of trauma to be revealed and damaged family relationships to be repaired.
Not everyone is on the same page about discussing their experiences. People in both the adult and child generations of Centrepoint encounter strong resistance to talking with others about what happened. This now makes it challenging to openly and honestly talk about past events with others from the community and to feel safe in doing so.
Part of a wider story
Some of the ex-children of Centrepoint have shared their stories publicly but by and large most of the child victims of sexual abuse at Centrepoint have been silent. The silence has resulted in confusion, misinformation and isolation. There has not been a place where trusting dialogue could happen to unpack the corrosive memories, for both adult and child ex-residents. For many, restoration has not occurred. These pages are an attempt to bring together those people who want to participate in a restorative and healing process which may have the power to break the hold of shame and guilt for many ex-residents of Centrepoint. The history of culturally condoned and enabled childhood sexual abuse which occurred at Centrepoint occurred in a cultural context which was both ignorant and permissive.
This story is part of a wider story about sexual harm in New Zealand. The way we talk in New Zealand about gender or sexuality-based abuse, violence and discrimination is changing. There is a rising surge of voices shouting clearly that for this society to be fair and equitable, the dialogue needs to be different, and the voices of those who have lived on the periphery and have yet to be represented, need to be heard.
A Different Kind of Family
K.Gibson, M.Morgan, C.Woolley and T. Powis, Massey University
A 2010 retrospective study commissioned by the NZ Community Growth Trust. 29 participants were interviewed anonymously by researchers about their experiences as children at Centrepoint.
"Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.”
bishop desmond tutu