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Forty Eight hours – Four Presentations  – all to benefit RAW.


Should the three of us (Gina, Ina and myself) be exhausted from the content of the last two days – or high on life, and all of the new connections and the increased awareness that has been made. The latter obviously, as over the last two days we have spoken to more than six hundred and fifty women – and each of them will make at least ten connections to talk about the experience that they have had. That gives us over 6500 people who are now aligned with the change we are getting with RAW. So many ask what they can do for RAW when we speak, and given that the proximity and the physical connection becomes difficult, if they are not in our immediate environment in the Waikato, there are other things we can suggest – possibly aligning through products or services, advocacy or financial assistance are always a possibility.

But for RAW and the outcomes that we seek, the biggest is to remove the stain for those who have been born on the wrong pathway, and in most cases it’s as simple as that. Women with no choice simply by birthright, who have had parents that nurture with crime, drugs, alcohol and violence – these create outcomes we now see in this country’s prisons. We are all a result of the nurture process – we can’t be anything else.
It has been so incredible to see a general awakening to a solution for this social and fiscal problem. Rather than attaching blame to the system that potentially created part of this problem, let’s take the time as a community to identify and wrap around these women on their journey to prison, the women who are bringing up another generation of criminals, who with a little support and acceptance from mainstream, may now see the choice that they can have if we are prepared to provide it – it’s the choice we all should have.

I hear with frustration, the ongoing conversations of women as they talk to the way in which we women support and encourage each other. Really – because one thing I know is that this doesn’t apply to all women – there’s a whole demographic that we conveniently avoid – a demographic that will eventually consume so much of our resources, and our time, and place the very things we value at risk.
To ensure these women are not written off as they have been in the past, we need to acknowledge that in many case their life’s journey was not their fault, so just maybe no accountability should attach to them – simply an empathy to try and get change through connection and guidance, support, visibility and love.

Annah Stretton

NZ Designer