Last year a little girl named Nia Glassie was murdered by bullying, violent hands in her family home.
This past month, the five adults who were responsible for the three year old's torment and death have been on trial in Rotorua's High Court.
This case has, and continues to affect me deeply.
I don't want to examine my feelings here. I don't want to turn away from what Nia faced, she couldn't turn away as they were happening to her, but I also don't want to recount the various and escalating torments she endured either - the story is easy to find online; read what happened to her; believe that what Nia endured and finally what took her life, is only the tip of a violent ice burg. Children live this life every day until it either kills them, or they survive it enough to possibly go on to repeat the behaviour.
I have to say something, though, as disjointed as this is. I want to acknowledge her life - let you know that she is not a shame or a news headline or someone to be forgotten.
My heart is broken for Nia's last months and weeks at the hands of people who (obviously to me) didn't see her as human, let alone the vulnerable little girl she was. I am so sorry and sad she had a mother who didn't protect her against the meanness and hurt in her own home. My heart is broken for Nia's siblings who were caught between the violence and were witnesses the torment and death of their baby sister.
I am broken for all the children who aren't safe in their own homes, who aren't cared for by those who are meant to, and not loved enough or protected by anyone who can make a difference.
How on earth I can keep these children safe? I use the word "I" and not "we" because it is about me doing something. It is not a statement I want to say in general terms - I don't want to say "we as a society" or "you feel like you should do something" - it's all such vague language and chest beating blather. I have the responsibility. Me, the individual. I want violence towards children gone from the community I live in.
I don't know how to do that. How do I do that?
[Monday 17th November] This was how what Justice Potter had to say to the Jury this this morning before sending them out to deliberate.