As the Labour Party Spokesperson for Family and Sexual Violence, I am concerned that Willie Jackson is becoming a Labour Party candidate with a prominent ranking on the list.
White Ribbon encourages everyone to break the silence around domestic violence by challenging comments and actions that are abusive or condone abuse. I was a vocal opponent of Mr Jackson’s comments during the ‘Roast-Busters’ incident and I do not believe that his attitude towards victims of sexual abuse match what I expect of a member of the Labour Party. Especially a member of our caucus.
I appreciate that Mr Jackson may regret his comments, but I am yet to hear that he understands his attitudes and views are highly offensive to many New Zealanswrs. I’m yet to hear that he wishes to work on putting that right and apologise for his behaviour.
Violence is not just physical, but also covers emotional and verbal abuse. Not speaking out against abuse of any kind is condoning or tacitly endorsing that behaviour. The comments Mr Jackson made around the ‘Roast-Busters’ incident are never OK, but it is OK to ask for help.
White Ribbon calls for us to support people who wish to change their abusive behaviour, so I welcome the opportunity to support Mr Jackson in apologising and making those changes.
Until then, as someone who speaks for the victims of family and sexual violence, and as a survivor of such abuse, I can not in good conscience support him as my colleague.