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Domestic Violence

The fact that domestic violence causes physical injuries, dysfunctional families, and broken relationships is well known.

A lesser-highlighted problem is the impact on residences, which are labeled as ‘horror houses’ or cursed and have real trouble attracting new tenants. Furthermore communities often fall into the category of ‘problem areas’ when the media publicizes an incident of domestic violence. Properties have been known to sit empty for years as no one wants to live in a home where such evil took place.

Take for example the Lundy family home, which has not had an owner since the gruesome deaths of Amber and Christine nearly 15 years ago. The single story home in Palmerston North is situated on a quiet street and has had very few visitors since the 2000 murders of the mother and daughter.

In another incidence the Christchurch City Council ended up buying an unwanted section of land in 2012 where Jason Somerville murdered two women. The bodies of Rebecca Somerville and missing neighbor, Tisha Lowry were found under the floorboards of a unit on the site in September 2009. It was later burnt down by an arsonist. Somerville is serving a 23-year non-parole sentence for their murders, which were about a year apart.

Some ethnicities including Maori believe that incidences like these attract negative spirits, which create an uneasy aura in and around the property.  Ruahine Albert, a founder of New Zealand’s first Māori Women’s Refuge explains that there are options available to rid a home of these unwanted forces. “From a Maori perspective, some of our families who have been raised in our traditions would be uncomfortable living back where people have been harmed or killed,” Albert says. “However if the houses have been blessed by Kaumatua they are more likely to live there unhindered; trusting that are taken care of spiritually this side or afterlife. It would be necessary to involve our elders and high priests for guidance with prayers to safeguard the spiritual energies left in a house where there has been trauma or death.”

Domestic violence has a ripple effect which is far reaching. We must work together to stamp out an act that brings about no good to families or the places they call home.

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