Former Jehovah's Witness Debbie Oakley, aged seven

The best of The Spinoff this week

Bringing you the best weekly reading from your friendly local website. 

Amy Parsons-King: Silent lambs: Child sexual abuse and the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Best known for their door-to-door evangelising, Jehovah’s Witnesses are on a quest to save the ‘wicked’ from damnation. For victims of sexual abuse within the organisation, however, that quest has seen perpetrators shielded from justice. Amy Parsons-King has met several survivors as part of an investigation for The Spinoff. These are their stories.

Emily Writes: ‘Harden up’ is precisely the wrong message to send our children

“New Zealand is losing hundreds of our children a year to suicide. Mark Richardson has decided to contribute  to this conversation by rehashing the ‘we are not teaching resilience’ message.

‘Tell them to harden up,’ he frothed.

Yes indeed, the man who once fell face down screaming and wailing when he got cramp thinks today’s children need to harden up. The man who is almost incontinent with rage over someone suggesting a nickname is hurtful thinks today’s children need to harden up.

The man who spews barely coherent bullshit for a living does not see the connection between his desperate fear that he might lose his social standing for his opinions and this ridiculous notion that children need to be bulletproof.”

Henry Oliver: A fierce argument for and against Eat My Lunch

Yesterday, Eat My Lunch, the social enterprise which provides a lunch for a hungry school kid for every lunch it sells to the public, came under fire for claiming that 290,000 New Zealand kids were going to school every day without lunch when KidsCan estimated that the number was closer to 55,000. As Henry Oliver read the news, he argued viciously against himself on the efficacy of Eat My Lunch’s social enterprise model.

Tash Bernevald: That Aussie journalist is wrong about Jacinda Ardern

“We all knew Jacinda Ardern’s performance as a parent would be endlessly scrutinised, opined upon, and criticised as long as she was prime minister. I mean, here I am, writing yet another opinion piece about it. But I felt like I had to.

Natalie Ritchie’s story in the New Zealand Herald was just the latest in a tidal wave of words about our prime minister. Isn’t it incredible how one woman, making one choice, can inspire so many to speak?

How people parent is none of our business. The choices we make about our families are as individual as we are, and there should be no obligation whatsoever to disclose reasons behind our life choices.

Why should it be any different for our prime minister?”

Emily Writes: Your anti-abortion protest was silent for a reason

“The happy group of people who believe in rights for women far outnumbered the bootie obsessives and their signs were quite frankly a lot better. The other key difference between the two was the noise levels. One was a rowdy bunch, singing songs, hugging, speaking passionately, cheering, clapping; the other group sat silently. They ignored questions asked of them and sat looking grumpy that they were missing their daytime stories. It was as if it was God’s waiting room and everyone there was quite frankly tired of all this unnecessary ‘living’ and ‘trying to make positive change in the world’.

It made me reflect on why their protest was silent, and why the protest I was aligned with (being a woman who believes you shouldn’t force people to gestate against their will) was so loud. And that’s when I realised they were silent for a reason. They had no speeches for a reason.”

2011 Under 19 National Champions (Image: supplied)

Madeleine Chapman: His life, his fight: Madeleine Chapman on co-writing Steven Adams’ autobiography

Spinoff writer Madeleine Chapman co-wrote basketball star Steven Adams’ autobiography, in shops next week. She tells how she wrote the book alongside an athlete she’s known since they were both teenagers. Warning: contains a lot of food.

Graham Cameron: Whakawhanaungatanga, not censorship: A Māori perspective on ‘free speech’

“Chris Trotter claimed that ‘free speech denialism… [is] born of fear.’ No, Chris. Having boundaries on what can be said where, is not about fear; it is about whakawhanaungatanga. A recognition that I do not exist independent of health and functional communities. So I need to engage my brain to protect the relationships that bind us together. It’s called a social contract.

Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern promote views that incite people to tear that social contract apart.”

Daniel Eb: The vegans are coming! Why the end of meat could be closer than we think

“Air New Zealand’s decision is a watershed moment. Where before we felt removed from the reach of alternative proteins, now we are compelled to ‘pick a side’ – support the farmers or embrace the force challenging their livelihoods. The Beef + Lamb report acknowledges that the future of meat will be shaped by shifting consumer tastes, mounting health trends, environmental issues and the rise of alternative proteins. It recognises that the industry must diversify, innovate or premium-ise to withstand disruption.

Beef + Lamb outline several future scenarios’ for meat. These can be described as alternative protein’s take-over, meat survives as a premium product or business as usual.

This article grapples with the very real, very troubling question raised by scenario one – is there an end to meat?”

Andrew Little: Sometimes calling out your best mate is the right thing to do

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