Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Our House

20 Responses

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Nicely said Emma or rather written.

    .Nobody told me at the time, which was probably the right thing to not do.

    Just to be clear, not tell you was the right thing to have done or?

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Silke Hartung,

    Dear Emma, lots of love to you! I too am terrified of a house and it took me years to understand why that is. Shared blood isn't enough... x

    Auckland • Since Aug 2015 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Just to be clear, not tell you was the right thing to have done or?

    Yes, on consideration I think it was the right thing to do. I was fifteen when he died, and he was living in Brisbane. I hadn't seen him for about three years. I don't think I would have coped at all well knowing, at that age, and I wasn't going to find out any other way if my mother didn't tell me.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Fiddling around with the law isn’t going to change anything. It never does. WHERE IS THE EXTRA MONEY??? We need money for specialist family courthouses and courts and judges and lawyers. We need specialist councillors and programs. We need TV, radio and print media campaigns to change attitudes. But I don’t see an extra red cent here from the government.

    We need new ways of thinking. For example, why do we take men with violence and woman issues and put them in all male, hyper masculine and hyper violent prisons where the only women they see are in the de-humanised form of smuggled porn? How is that going to help when they get out? Many countries have integrated jails and conjugal rights. Why can’t we experiment with this? Men and women can have separate sleeping wings, but they are allowed to mingle in prison jobs and surely a woman’s perspective on domestic violence during rehabilitation sessions, where they are safe to say their piece in a prison environment, would be useful? Maybe while in prison male and female prisoners can form better relationships? Surely, a supervised conjugal visit where respect is part of that visit is a good form of behavioural modification?

    New Zealand’s level of generalised violence is unbelievable, as is our level of normalised domestic violence. We need to start thinking very differently about how to deal with it, AND SPEND SOME BLOODY MONEY ON IT.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Goodfellow, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I'm trying to remember when a government last took justice and incarceration seriously enough to face down the inevitable calls for it to be both harsh and cheap ("spending all that money to mollycoddle thugs while hard-working taxpayers etc etc etc"), or took the time to argue through the long-term implications of failed rehabilitation and the ensuing re-offending levels.

    Some years back there was a New Yorker (?) article on managing chronic homelessness where some US cities had opted to fund (lightly supervised) housing, with the natural objection from other poor citizens struggling to pay rent that this effectively rewarded fecklessness. Impressively the city was sticking with the programme, arguing both cost/benefit (fewer emergency medical treatments, less crime) and being fairly frank about the moral implications (roughly "yep, it really doesn't feel fair but the alternatives are even worse and you really wouldn't want to be one of them yourself anyway"). Unfortunately this was notable precisely because of its rarity.

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Maybe while in prison male and female prisoners can form better relationships?

    That sounds an awful lot like "hey, why don't we put more women at risk so they can help men overcome their violence problems." The idea that prison is a safe place for people seems naïve.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Thanks Emma. That story and its conclusion mean a lot to me.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to B Jones,

    That sounds an awful lot like “hey, why don’t we put more women at risk so they can help men overcome their violence problems.” The idea that prison is a safe place for people seems naïve.

    several overseas countries, including Spain, do it already to generally positive results. All I am saying is perhaps if what we are currently doing is broken, maybe we should investigate doing something else.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Well, that’s certainly something else.

    It’d be worth citing your claims about Spain – as far as I could tell with a quick google, female prisoners are generally separated from male ones there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres where mostly coed during the 1990s. The one I’ve seen even allowed some mothers to have there young children with them. That’s along with people who are on remand for serious crimes. I don’t know how these places operate nowadays. Anyone been to rehab lately?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Sister Mary Gearchange, in reply to B Jones,

    That sounds an awful lot like "hey, why don't we put more women at risk so they can help men overcome their violence problems." The idea that prison is a safe place for people seems naïve.

    I'd suggest that your idea of prison is limiting you. I'm not saying that that isn't what NZ prisons *are*, although I wouldn't go as far as agreeing with the person that said they were "hyper-violent" (try some of the prisons here in the US or some other countries I could mention), but it is certainly the case that prisons *can* be places of actual rehabilitation. Shocking to the NZ general view, I know.

    But, it will never happen.

    Kiwis are too narrow minded and NZ governments too lazy and inept to ever want to do anything positive that might cost them cash. Better for re-election purposes to pander to the Vengeance & Punishment crowd that form the bulk of the NZ population.

    Since Oct 2015 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Interested views on kiwi masculinity here

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I started reading with Talking Heads bouncing along in my head ..... and crashed .... that was not the read I expected ...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I started reading with Talking Heads bouncing along in my head

    I was aiming for Madness. Ah well.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Sadly, I got the madness. X best.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Maybe this will do instead:

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Maybe this will do instead:

    Since posting this, I've had four people tell me there is a house like this in their past. In once case, it had been bulldozed and built over. I'd love to watch this one burn down.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Some people who were incarcerated in the past in the mental health/disability system have told me about a similar reaction they have to the 'bins'. Even when the buildings have gone the site itself remains distressing.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Son of Dad,

    Thank you for sharing that Emma. It made me think of 'Barlow's House' by Dead Famous People:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU6qBS0m2bo

    Since Aug 2014 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Greville Whittle,

    Sometime the fear of a place can be collective. There was an old folks home, and a few other oldies living on our street, so there were a few people that'd say 'Hi' and have a chat. I was a polite kid and obliged them. Until one old man tried to grab me.

    I got away. But was terrified of having to go past his house each day. I'd bike as fast as I could so I'd hardly see it. Afterwards we found out that it was well known around town that he was a danger to kids.

    The house sat vacant for years after he died and was eventually demolished around 1999-2000. It's still a vacant lot now. But no-one will buy it, like the ghost of the old place lingers.

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 50 posts Report Reply

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