The Kahui Case
by Ian Wishart
The most controversial book on family violence published this decade, BREAKING SILENCE was initially banned from major book chains after a 50,000 strong Facebook boycott campaign ripped across New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the UK protesting its publication.
The boycott campaign had been based on false information, however, and designed to deliberately whip up public hysteria during a Coroner's Court hearing into the deaths of two twins.
Now that the book has been published and the Coroner's verdict backs up the book, the critics are praising it. Breaking Silence uses the life story of mother Macsyna King as the narrative to explore the problem of intergenerational child abuse and its impact on modern society.
Herself the victim of terrible abuse and abandonment as a child, King's life falls apart when her premature identical twin sons are murdered and the father is charged with the crime. Although we frequently hear "about" such cases, it is rare to hear "from" one of the key participants in her own words.
Breaking Silence is the story of a mother's journey to hell and back, and the search for justice for her twins in the face of a backlash from a society that turned its back on her. It explores and sheds light not just on child abuse and violence in the home, but analyses society's attitude to women in child abuse cases. The latest forensic debates about child abuse injuries are explored, as are the social choices many of us face every day that can lead to disaster.
REVIEWS: "This mammoth book is a top achievement & should be a school text.." - Rachael Ford, psychiatric nurse *****
"The book so many maligned before it came out reveals a mother we haven't met. When I last wrote about Macsyna King, I said I didn't think I'd like her. I've changed my mind. I certainly think she outclasses the Wellington radio announcer who posted on Facebook that after receiving her advance copy of "Breaking Silence", she had "spat on it, wiped my ass on it, and ripped it up".
"Imagine your life reduced to sound bites of everything you've ever done wrong -and many things you haven't. "Oh, how we've loved to hate her. But the woman who emerges from the book is a far more complex human being. There isn't the space here to list the ways in which she's been unfairly maligned. Yes, she made incredibly dumb choices. But she's smart, hard-working, big on cleanliness and loved her kids." - Tapu Misa, NZ HERALD *****
"I found it an incredibly surprising book, and a very relevant book, and a very important book"- Anna Smart, Newstalk ZB
"The book has real value" - Larry Williams, Newstalk ZB
"Breaking Silence is a chilling narrative and the most important I have read. Adults may need to read the story to gain any understanding.Younger people should read in it a warning: that it is the way we make decisions early on that may determine the course of our life and the lives of those entrusted to our care." - Southland Times
"I had no particular views on the case before this book came out but I have to say it's a powerful read. An influential read, one might say...All those people who poured out their invective when it became known the book was about it hit the book shops really should just read it for themselves. It may not be quite what they think" - Helen Hill, The Marlborough Express
"I feel sad that we seem to have entered a time in society where for many it is acceptable to attempt to ban the sale of a book before knowing its contents and I wonder at the motives of those who have joined efforts to stop bookstores stocking it. Could it be we have reached a point where to make ourselves feel better we have to find someone to hate, to direct our fear and uncertainty about the future of our world towards, and that for now, at least, Macsyna King is that person? Could it be that underlying the public discussions about the need to stop the book being read is a deep-seated fear that reading it will in some way leave us all with the question of what part we as members of society played in the death of these babies? Not in the sense of "Who was in the room?" but in "Have we really reached this level of disconnection in our communities?"
"Ian Wishart's Breaking Silence: The Kahui Case...is not a book to ban, but one to read for whatever it can add to our understanding of child abuse." - Celia Lashlie, NZ LISTENER MAGAZINE *****
"We are very glad to have read it and thankful that Wishart (and King) have written it. Wishart has done the entire body politic a great deal of good. We would, accordingly, encourage everyone to read it...Breaking Silence will likely enhance Wishart's reputation considerably." - CONTRA CELSUM
"Breaking Silence is not on my 'recommended' read list. I firmly believe it is compulsory reading for anyone over 18" - Andrew Stone, Albany Buzz business magazine
- Howling At The Moon Publishing Ltd, January 2013
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