I looked back twelve months to see what I was blogging. My last article in 2020 was about the methods used by Donald Trump to try to turn lies into the truth (an alchemy that he mastered to a surprising degree, and which we all now have to live with on an ongoing basis). My first blog in 2021 was about the attack on Congress by Trump’s army.
Further early articles in 2021 were on the resignation of Grainne Moss from Oranga Tamariki, the terrible reports of torture and violent coercion at Auckland Women’s Prison, and the necktie debacle at Parliament.
Later on in the year I did quite a lot of work on misogyny. Gloriavale, always a topic of interest, raised its head again. I have been calling for the closure of Gloriavale School for years on several grounds, and it was good to see some of these vindicated around the sexual abuse of children. Gloriavale was set up by a convicted sexual abuser – what did we expect?
Mid-year I reported on the shocking findings of a research project I carried out for Christchurch Girls’ High School on sexual harassment. There were three main findings: that around 400 girls reported 2677 incidents of sexual abuse between February and May 2021, that over 20 had been raped and three gang-raped, and that the predominant response of the girls was…. Silence. They wore more clothes, changed their walking and bus routes but told no-one why.
In the past couple of weeks it has been reported that the new health curriculum will include work around family violence and sexual harassment. This is a good outcome – you can help young people keep themselves safe through education.
I have written so many times on the political response to Covid that one of my papers was saved as ‘Covid again again’. The struggle between the needs of commerce and the needs of the population to keep themselves safe has been a mammoth one. I know the great re-awakening is still causing stress and anxiety to a lot of people (especially in Auckland). I also feel sorry for some of the unvaxxed, those who are genuinely concerned that the vaccine will make them sick, but not for those using is as a political weapon. Not the misogynist lot either. That story will roll over to 2022.
My last blog here
Martyn Bradbury has very kindly let me blog away here to my heart’s content for nearly four years now. It has been great, and I would like to thank him, and acknowledge those who have engaged with my blogs in a kindly manner. But I am growing up and leaving home now. I am starting a new blog.
I want to blog more around social issues, social harm, science, research and community. This does not mean I will eschew politics, but I will operate a broader focus. Also, I am interested in developing a new community of bloggers around these issues. Anyone interested in participating should contact me.
So see you online in a new place in 2022. Best wishes for the festive system. Be festive, carefully. And good riddance to 2021 as well, an annus horribilis in anyone’s terms.
Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society. She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.