National MP Agnes Loheni has released a powerful statement calling for men to stand up against domestic violence after the brutal murder of a Hamilton mum.
Loheni was speaking about Crystal Lee-Selwyn, who was beaten to death with a paving stone by her former partner Rueben Paul Peeni last year.
"Yesterday I woke to the news that Reuben Paul Peeni was sentenced to life imprisonment for taking a brick and beating his partner's head in front of eight children - five of them her own," she said in a statement on Wednesday.
"I cannot quell my rage. And I cannot hold back the tears every time I think of her six-year-old son trying to protect his mother as she is beaten to death in front of him."
Loheni pointed to New Zealand's rate of women murdered by their partners - all too often in front of children. She questioned how this is acceptable and said she refuses to "stay in my lane".
"Whatever time remains for me in Parliament will be devoted to ending this sickening and horrific cycle of violence perpetrated on women and their children," she said.
"I will reach out and work with anyone required to address this. I do not care what your political affiliations are as they are irrelevant to the women who are killed each year at the hands of their partners."
Loheni finished with a challenge to men to stand up and "stand against the death of our women".
"If you are a man stand up for the mums, the wives, the daughters, the grand-daughters in your lives and demand accountability of yourselves," she said.
"I challenge the men to organise the protest march against this death and all these deaths. I challenge our men to flood the streets of Auckland, Hamilton, and Wellington with as many people as have stood for George Floyd.
"I challenge the men to take over the organisations that work with intimate partner violence and take this burden off women who should not have to address your violence. It is your problem.
"I challenge men to see Crystal as a mother and a woman whose life mattered. I challenge men to rise up against this violence.
"Silence is assent tane ma."
Where to find help and support:
- Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
- Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
- Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
- What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
- Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email email@example.com or online chat
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584