Moving from Te Po (Night) and into Te Ao (Light): an Indigenous Framework to Support Māori Males Who Have Been Sexually Abused in New Zealand
Stevens II, Alexander Windsor
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Sexual abuse is a public health threat to the wellbeing of all people in New Zealand. The costs of sexual violence have been estimated by New Zealand Treasury in 2006 to be over a billion dollars a year. Current statistics suggest that females are more likely to be sexually abused than males. However research has indicated that men (in general) have separate challenges coming forward to discuss being sexually abused. For indigenous males the challenges are even more demanding than tauiwi (non-Māori) men. Excluding ethnicity, male experiences of being sexually abused in general are under reported in New Zealand. This can mean men present with on-going problems that may damage them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When indigenous men access health or social services Māori and Pacific frameworks are often used to ensure culturally appropriate care is given. This can include Te Whare Tapa Wha and Te Wheke. However there are limitations to these indigenous frameworks when sexual abuse is factored in. Given this a new approach is needed to understand the complexities of being sexually abused, and to find culturally appropriate ways forward. Effectively finding solutions that deal with prevention and recovery from sexual abuse will greatly reduce the mental health and addiction burden in New Zealand. To meet the gaps identified the researcher has developed a framework and tool based on ancestral knowledge of both Māori people (the indigenous peoples of New Zealand) and the Ojibwa people (one of the largest groups of indigenous people that are divided between the United States and Canada). The results of the project suggest a positive way forward, towards healing and recovering from sexual abuse. This will be used as the basis for on-going exploration and study.