In response to a couple of posts…

…made over at Man of Lettuce – A (Sydney) Cabbies Spray. 17 May 2006 “Who Knew” and 18 May 2006 “They Knew”. I wouldn’t mind the opprtunity to ride in your taxi Adrian – I enjoy a good yarn, and would have done so on this topic even though I’m truly sick of the media’s take on it.

After Fiztroy Crossing here in WA, the sexual abuse and assualt in Alice Springs communities on the outskirts of town is big news – apparently – and I am sick to death of it, as it’s not new news to me, but suddenly it’s now a Politicians delight. I’m sick of the way it’s being touted by the media and political parties alike, and I’m sick of it being true. But there’s a reason – and this needs to be acknowledged first… my response is long… and I hope you can stick with it. I like to suggest you read Adrian’s comments first, as he did the ‘hard work’ – by kick starting my grey matter, and thusly punishing you lot – with the blurb below. It’s all his fault!

 

“…Thanks for yet another thoughtful and insightful post. I have my doubts at to the ability of the current government to deal with this in any meaningful, longterm solutions but i really hope to be proven wrong.” Finshing sentance of a comment ‘Posted by: bron | May 17, 2006 6:42:02 PMon’

bron… I also hope to be proven wrong by today’s government, in fact I’d BEG for it… but sadly our government has it’s own agenda’s in all of this disgusting business, and sometimes I truly wonder if it’s as knightly as it would have us believe.

Assault or abuse – of ANY kind – needs a victim. That’s not to say a victim NEEDS assault, I need to make that very clear – this is about how easy it is for a victim to become the target of assault or abuse, especially if you’ve lived in an environment, culture or community that promotes said assault or abuse as the ‘norm’ and has done so for a long, LONG time – over MANY generations.

Let’s stop trying to make it a ‘black’ issue too – just for the moment – not make it an issue to carry over into the next election either… this nasty busienss has been an issue in MANY societies for many, many, MANY years – as long as there has been something someone else wants badly enough – there has always been those happy to take it.

Domestic violence and sexual abuse of children are as old as ‘mankind’. Many societies in history established their own populations in this vein, rape, pillage and kill were not ‘skills’ synonymous only to the Vikings you know. Our earlier cultures accepted this trauma – and indeed used it to build their own numbers up in bad times – if it wasn’t on offer – it was taken. It was called survival then, but I don’t beleive for a minute this meant victims were happy about it.

No – I’m not making excuses for rape, assualy or child abuse… just pointing out one thing quite clearly, I believe these things are skeletons found in ALL of our worlds ‘cultural cupboards’, and that it’d have to take a very naive person to stop and tell me that this simply wasn’t true. It might have not be socially acceptable in most developed cultures now, but I’d be willing to bet it wasn’t all that closely monitored either – not some hundred years earlier either. In fact – before 1950 – if someone was raped in their own house – or family even – bashed or abused… did the ‘world’ in general REALLY do that much to stop it from happening as a whole?

Not really. It was often too much to talk about, we simply didn’t mention it, and often questions were headed off or simply left unanswered. When attention was brought to bear on bruises or ‘skittish’ children, it was often ‘diverted’, and it wasn’t uncommon to turn the other cheek to avoid the situation. Whilst neighbours might have noticed alot more about the community in general, I reckon most simply would have gone by the motto of: “It does no good to pry”.

It has only really been a recent world development – this ‘standing up for the defenceless in our society’ business – relatively at any rate, and it’s only really ever been a stance made by those societies that consider themselves beyond that sort of behaviour – and mostly these societies are well protected in they’re own wealth and security, it has afterall, taken over two hundred years to get our Australian society ‘just right’. When this country was born; on the back of explorers, troopers, convicts and settlers – I’d reckon our written history would show us VERY clearly – how far our Australian ancestors were removed from contemporary civilised society and it’s values today.

Now – folks… where was the Aboriginal or Islander fellas and communities in all of this society ‘development’ and ‘workshopping’ eh?

I’m of the opinion that the only really honest answer to this in our Australian history is: We weren’t working with you on this one fellas… in fact quite the opposite – Australian society as it grew and matured, made sure of it. Aboriginal and Islander peoples were (and still are by some authorities members) treated very badly. They were never included in the development of this country and it’s laws and values, and mostly had to grow up stuck firmly to the side of Australian mainstream life – like a remora on a shark or stingray – gobbling up leftovers in Australia’s growing wake.

During those hard times, Aboriginal and Islander peoples fought for there very survival. Like any peoples and cultures – when it comes down to survial, people can sink very low in their base values. Whole cultures can become something else entirely, where once there may have been a very strict Law in place, now there was only what you could take. And perhaps for a few – take is what they did. Over many many generations, there are those who took more, and more and even MORE – to the point that now – to some of those people (not ALL of them folks) – it’s just considered the ‘norm’.

To few still – now – it’s considered a Right! So they take , and they teach their young by proxy to take or be taken, it’s a life cycle type thing… you are afterall what you learn, and believe me – whilst mainstream Australia was learning to be behaved and civilised, it was in no way sharing this dream with it’s Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples… in fact it was doing the exact opposite. Our society as it grew, dehumansied Aboriginal and Islander cultures and peoples so much so that even as late as the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it was still considered ‘sport’ to hunt blackfellas in areas such as the remote Kimberley’s and Northern Territory (haven’t read suitable documentation supporting this in any other area – but i bet it happended) as such they were treated like animals, and poisoned like vermin. And whilst it was true that few individuals were given citizen ‘rights’ in the first third and half of the 1900’s, 1967 saw the Aboriginal and Islander peoples finally allowed to be included in this countries census. Later paving the way for Aboriginal people to become citizens of a country they had inhabited for thousands of years.

We’ve had only forty or so years to learn these lessons on value, that the rest of Australia’s society now treat as a God given right… shame really that we as a people (not individuals) couldn’t be there with you – I wish ‘we’ had.

I might sound a bit jaded there, I don’t mean too, honestly… but really… given the history of our country, they way in which the laws and ‘values’ were taught to our Aboriginal and Islander peoples, can it REALLY come as so much of a surprise that our peoples and cultures are so badly damaged and bent out of shape? Our Cultures and our Laws traditonally – when it was healthy and strong – didn’t allow for such things to happen, not within the scheme (or context) of our cultures and it’s survival THEN. Broken and busted now, you expect our culture to stand up to the test of time and fight for the right of the weak now? Abuse, assault and rape are not only the realities of OUR cultures and societies peoples, these things remain remarkably stubborn as a presence in yours (OURS) too. The difference is Australian Society was given time to develop a ‘framework’ to defend it’s peoples and their personal rights. Aboriginal and Islander peoples were never allowed to take a part of that right, it was denied to them by Law.

The question we need to ask today today in relation to this abuse is simple: Why? Why is this happening? Why are people allowing it to happen? Why is is occuring in these communities?
WHY? In these communites case, it happened and is happening because no one ever stood up and said: NO MORE! The saddest part of this is that our Authorities nor the government – never did this either – NOT FOR MORE YEARS THEN I COULD COUNT – and sadly they still don’t in some cases. The authorities and the government protected mainstream Australia, but not these communites.

It was okay as long as it was happening ‘over there’ – not here in town. Or in ‘their’ house , not ours… this ‘holier then thou’ mentality of looking at this situation stinks dreadfully of the ‘sh*# wot hit the fan’, and all I can say is: About bloody time! It was never acceptable then, it will never be acceptable now and it should nver be acceptable in the future! Our children are our future, our women are the strongholds that protect and foster our children, and OUR comtemporary culture should NEVER allow for this damage to be inflicted upon our own people – EVER again!

The biggest problem now lays in convincing victims-to-be, their community and the perpretrators of this abuse that this behaviour is NOT the ‘norm’. It is not Culturally appropriate and it is NOT a Man’s right to take these things from others, especially the innocence of children and the internal stregth of women. This is what needs to happen in those communities now, and if right now those children (in ANY community) need to be removed to protect them then please – do so – but do so appropriately, with sensitivity and care, because victims DON’T ASK TO BE HURT RAPED AND ABUSED, nor should we punish them in our bid to help them. Addressing this problem should be done with compassion, and determination – not political point gathering.

And if sadly, you think this is a problem only applicable to blackfellas and THEIR culture or communities, I’d suggest you have a quick look around, much closer to home… go ahead – look in your own community. This disgusting business is everywhere and as such it forever remains EVERYONE’S problem – every single memeber of our society – as we are ALL responsible! Perhaps not of the actual violence as such nor the ‘taking’, but if you’ve ever turned the other cheek – just once – your perpetrated this crime and given it the barest nod to simply keep on carrying on.

No more, means exactly that… NO MORE! We ALL have a part in protecting our peoples, let’s at least stand up and get real about it!

 

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About Belongum

People bring 'things' to me. Not necessarily PHYSICAL things as such - mostly just the loose bits and pieces floating around in their 'brain-box'. Sometimes, they also bring themselves - and THAT isn't anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I come here to pass some of this 'brain-box business' on to the ether world, and to empty my head. Besides folks - I love a good yarn - so come and join me!
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8 Responses to In response to a couple of posts…

  1. adrian says:

    Belongum, Pretty much what you say is true, to a degree. However whilst authorities have been proactive protecting whites over the last 30 years, exposing and handing down severe sentences for abuse perpretrators, sadly they have been missing in action when it comes to protecting our indigenous.

    Hence sexual abuse amongst the indigenous has flourished to the extent where critical indices are much higher than for non-whites.

    It would appear that the bullshit notion of ‘cultural sensitivity’, whereby perpetrators use fake cultural practises to justify their crimes (a defence aided and abetted by a mis-guided judicial system), has actually encouraged the proliferation of abuse against indigeneous women and kids.

    Furthermore, this situation is exaberated by lack of policing, funding and resources, lack of political will, absence of media coverage (till now), lack of indigeneous leadership, reluctance of support staff to take action, pretty much a total breakdown in the social chain of responsibility to the unprotected.

    No wonder paedophiles have also descended on a society with no active protection or support. Perfect conditions for those scum. If I didn’t know better I’d suggest a conspiracy created this situation, in order paedophiles could operate with impunity.

    Mate, I’m drained just thinking about the problem, so can’t imagine how stressful it is for yourself and others at the coalface. But have faith cause it appears the Feds are finally heeding the crys for help from the communities. We live in hope they can make a difference, and not be thwarted by recalcitrants and those in denial like the NT chief, Claire Martin. Is she for real ?

    You might care to check out this link to a Koori lawyer who appeared on last night’s ABC Lateline. http://tinyurl.com/nruly

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  2. adrian says:

    …critical indices are much higher than for non-whites.

    Doh, should read, ‘non-indigenous’.

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  3. Lee says:

    Of course, this violence and sexual abuse is not only amongst indigenous societies…we’re all aware of that…or should be, if there are some amongst us who are not.

    I understand what you’re saying Belongum. I agree, too, with Adrian in his comment “however whilst authorities have been proactive protecting whites etc.” There are no excuses…and none should be presented for these atrocities, whether in black or white societies.

    I think it’s sometimes very easy to close our eyes and minds to what is going on around us, but we must face what’s going on here…and action MUST be taken…now…not later. Innocent children are victims…they need to be protected. They’re unable to protect themselves…they shouldn’t have to. Enough talk has been done by the ‘powers-that-be’…too much time has been allowed to pass…this problem has to be fixed and fixed now!

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  4. Kim says:

    Well said. I think along the same lines in terms about exclusion of aboriginals in the wealth (monetarily, health, spiritually ect) of the Australian nation that has occured in the past and continues to occur today.

    Abuse seems to be such a hush-hush topic for all Australians, a secret shame. At least it’s now in the light. Let’s hope action is now taken, no empty words.

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  5. Callisto says:

    Many people will sit back and cast stones and say “How bloody atrocious” about this issue (which is bloody atrocious), without necessarily thinking of the why and how background that you have explained Belongum.

    As you point out Belongum, this type of abuse is not a cultural thing, it is just that some of us have had a stack more resources; support, education, policing and time dedicated to the elimination and prevention of abuse.

    I also hope that this is not just another political football and that the resources that are so badly needed are provided and not mis-managed (as they so often have been).

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  6. Belongum says:

    Cheers all… it IS a bloody atrocious situation… makes me sick when I stop and think about it. I try NOT to think about it… it’s not something most people want to dwell on but every time I go back up into the communities I see young people who have been abused. My own community has it’s share of these problems too… and we have VERY strong women in our community – and still it happens.

    What’s needed is a side by side approach – to REALLY fix the problem requires a long term solution – there are no quick fixes and no easy ones. These communities will need to WANT to change, they’ll need to be empowered AND SUPPORTED (NOT ridiculed) from the inside in order to ‘change’. That means that ‘someone’ will need to value them, who they are, their culture, and how they connect to this world (theirs or otherwise) and that’ll require people who can suspend their own point’s of view and belief systems, long enough to be able to see this mobs world view from where THEY’RE all standing.

    A VERY hard ask, and it’ll require a lot of energy… a LOT of energy – for every step forward there has to be an understanding that sometimes – just sometimes – there’ll be two or three back. But if you CARE for these people – really care and value their contribution here in this world – and appreciate their perspective from where they’re coming from – and you WILL see change… I know – I’ve seen it many, many times. There’s nothing more important for you to invest yourself in… a community that WANTS to change, can achieve amazing things.

    If the community believes you when you say you’ll stick around and see this horrible business through – and you do – you’d be amazed at what you can achieve in a small amount of time. If the environment around this mob though, doesn’t decide to support them and REALLY help out… this mob will NOT change. And no amount of removing children from the Hell zone will resolve this either – not without some real thought as to how we should allow for them to still be connected to their community people – this business needs to be healed from within – or you simply shift that same old pussy ulcer somewhere else – where it can fester unabated – till someone else get’s caught up in it.

    ‘Institutions’ don’t solve these problems; they simply tend to ‘mutate’ them in some way. This has been proven across so many continents now – it surprises me that people think that any type of solution based on this notion, might still actually work.

    A ‘sickness’ needs to have a cure that allows for a remedy that heals itself from within… no amount of outside alternatives can ever impact on the ‘disease’ raging on the inside, if you can’t promote a healthy point of view from within. A community is very much like a person in that sense, and it NEEDS to be cared for in it’s time of ‘illness’ not trashed and put down.

    It doesn’t need HUGE amounts of resources either (as much as gov departments and some silly fellas – both sides of the fence – think), but it will need a complete rethink as to how this business of healing a community from the inside is done. NO amount of money thrown at the problem will make this go away, and if the public want something to be angry about – then attack that: Don’t let this government or any OTHER government think that their responsibilities are absolved just because they put money aside for the ‘problem’ in their federal budget… this creates more problems – and this has sadly brought us to where we are today.

    Culture and the notion of culture is NOT an excuse for cruelty, abuse or assault… not if you truly VALUE your own children and their – OUR – future. That lesson takes learning, and it requires a ‘ballsy’ teacher, leader and community to stand up and actually do it. I don’t see any of this available in our current government or environment right now – do you? It’ll have to come from this mob themselves, and those precious few who can actually help them… I hope it’s enough – I really do.

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  7. Ian says:

    Hi ya, well said.
    I’ve been off line for a while so couldn’t comment earlier but, as you know, it’s all been said before! As always the politicking seems to take over, but I was encouraged by an interview with Warren Mundine where the interviewer was trying the old wedge trick – ie is it child abuse rings, or is that a beat up. Is Claire Martin right in attacking Brough etc… and Warren said basically…look, it’s all true; and worse, worse than most people can imagine… stop talking and do something!!! I don’t agree with everything he says all the time, but he’s right…. does it matter HOW bad…. is there some point at which it’s TOO bad, implying the reverse … that until that point it’s NOT too bad!!!! Gaaaaaaah…. head hurts…. and soul….sorry for the rant….

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  8. The Daily Magnet says:

    Hooray – thank you belongum for writing that post it was pretty to the point(a lot of points).

    “proactive protecting whites over the last 30 years, exposing and handing down severe sentences for abuse perpretrators,”

    Sorry Adrian – but this is incorrect, it is extremely difficult for police to protect kids(& other rape victims) under the British Common Law system, which places the onus of justice only for the benefit of middle and upper class males, on crimes of theft.

    Maybe u think I blow.g this out my arse(ie. opinion only), but the atrition rate of the few paedophiles actually charged going to conviction is about 1% and the reoffending rate of known & convicted paedophiles is 85%. It is extremely difficult to obtain evidence from a kid, & the only reasonably solid evidence is forensic evidence which has a very limited window to be collected within.
    So they may well be working tirelessly, but it’s really to no avail – there is little protection afforded to women & children under the British Common Law system.

    Police try to adapt their means of catching paedophiles, developing cyber units etc, which is improving that particular area(with hard evidence too, I might add) but in ‘remote communities’ police have to use other means to catch paedophiles who use other means to gain access and prey on children.

    So while it is valid for Costello to say ‘they should be charged’ he brushes over the massive inadequacies of the means he is recommending to actually bring a conviction and prison sentence, and this in turn would mean terrible reprisals for those who have done the unthinkable and put them into the cops in the 1st place.

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