Reading the news a couple of weeks ago, an unsettling reality was brought to my attention. I have been reflecting on it since.
The first article, highlighted by its size and bold title, was about the injury Rieko Ioane had obtained and how this would upset the All Blacks backline. Scrolling down was the ‘most read’ and ‘latest news‘ section which included Nigella and her devastating carbonara incident and of course, the success of Team New Zealand. Hidden further down was an article introducing a five-week series created by the New Zealand Herald titled “Breaking the Silence”.
The hidden article is both confronting and disheartening. I found myself contradicting the title, as half way through I had to pause in silence. I couldn’t comprehend the story I was reading. Two 14 year olds, who were young, in love and desperate, took their own lives. They were among 144 youth who committed suicide in 2012. That’s one child committing suicide every three days.
Credit must be given to the herald as the piece is powerfully written. Prior to this series, UNICEF released statistics that show New Zealand has the worst representation of teen suicide, child poverty, and child abuse in the developing world. Are we really surprised? The irony of this piece is similar to the representation of statistics we have here in our country; they are out of sight and out of mind. We know they happen and we feel sad when we hear about them, but if they remain vague to us, we have no responsibility to do anything about it. It is easier to buy tickets to the final game of the Lion’s tour in support of our All Blacks; it is easier to turn up to Queen Street in Auckland and cheer on the gold cup that has brought our country victory. It's not easy to face child suicide in our country - that's why we choose not to.