…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!