Wahine Māori stories are different. When Wahine have the ability to speak and tell their stories it prompts a range of feelings. When these stories are about their own personal experiences and suffering, it doesn’t only affect them, but their whole whānau.
In situations, where Wahine have been unable to feel safe to talk or to tell their stories from their own perspectives, the suffering without words can be more frightening. As a whole world is hidden and their ability to stand in their own place has not been possible. It is in this place where a hidden turmoil may reside and concern amounts about how they are managing within the outside world that may not appreciate them. More importantly provokes what we do as whānau to awhi our wahine and kotiro better than we currently are.
A recent story by Preeti Kannan for Thomson Reuters foundation identified the increasing number of Wahine Māori as experiencing high rates of depression and suicide. Complex and heart wrenching as this is – we also have to unpack that things are very different now in this era than they were a generation ago. We have to recognise multiple challenges impact wāhine, including trauma, institutional racism, intergenerational effects of colonisation, being misunderstood within a western – male dominated – system and being exposed to specific events in life. It is up to us to do more for our Wāhine and Kōtiro Māori to ensure they feel confident in their ability to speak, to tell their stories and to direct their journeys in life.