Right now, in Australia, the great divide the indigenous women in rural and indigenous communities face needs to be bridged.
For far too long, gender issues and a male patriarchal system, have subordinated the indigenous woman and this has allowed violence against indigenous women to flourish. It is high-time, Australian men unite to end the violence against all Australian women. Finally, we live in an era where men have begun to listen to the view of a woman, when it comes to domestic violence (DV).
‘NATIONAL PRESS CLUB’ – Thanks to the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Panel – MARCIA LANGTON- JOSEPHINE CASHMAN- JACINTA PRICE
Today we heard a woman’s perspective, – as three indigenous women candidly shone a bright light, onto the indigenous culture. Under a cloak of indigenous ‘cultural silence’ sexual abuse and violence against women and children runs rampant. A fear to report rape, violence and even murder is being encouraged by current indigenous leaders and therefore the new DV proposal must be blocked.
Considering political and cultural correctness; now prevents justice for indigenous victims. – A cultural fear, is fuelled by anyone who reports rape or child sexual abuse to the police; get frowned upon and viewed as attacking cultural boundaries within the indigenous communities. There are suggestions the rule-of-law is to be set aside, in favour of a ‘culture of silence’. This suggestion runs contra to human rights, this proposal would provide a heavily curtained platform, upon which sexual predators would be able to abuse their victims freely. Women and child victims of violence and the criminal offences they suffered, would not go through the justice system. In fact, the predators would not go to prison, because under the new proposal the criminals will not even be charged by police; instead they would be given a case worker for DV. This would then place the victims out-side the rule-of-law. Because victims would be denied access to police intervention. DV causes the death of two women in Australia each week. Indigenous family lines are blended, and after much suffering since colonisation people already have a strong sense of ‘cultural silence’ it is this sense of loyalty which supports a system of both good and evil.
As Jacinta, explained,” I understand my traditional culture and this denies human rights. – Some old men some perpetrators, hold onto cultural law,” and there is no escape for the women.
Josephine, emphasised; – All people are owed a fundamental human right, and this fundamental right in a democratic country means the ‘STATE NEEDS TO RESPOND TO SERIOUS CRIME’. Josephine, has witnessed a town whereby many criminal Child sexual assaults, went unreported. The children were abused by two leaders; these men were well known to have perpetrated a series of sexual offences. However due to cultural status although, these criminals were knowingly responsible, for destroying indigenous children’s lives, time and time again these men are still abusing children chillingly, even as you read this article.
Because the ‘culture of silence’ allows predators to access their targeted child, the community do not go to the police, for fear of reprisals and a back-lash from the community. To indigenous, the police are the enemy anyone who talks to the police, are bullied and called ‘dogs’. There is a tremendous pressure for indigenous not to have any collaboration with police none-whatsoever.
We cannot allow the rule of law and fundamental human rights to be denied due to cultural law. Marcia asks, – Why is it cultural aspects and proposed policy is flouted in favour of non-indigenous NGO’s such as Church and sporting groups, successfully accessing funding?
The interference of non-indigenous NGO’s is evidenced by the disgraceful statistics Marcia, outlined and as set out below: –
A startling 30 000 Indigenous children, are neglected and removed from their families – there are currently 14, 000 protection orders in place. Along with a further- 12, 000 substantiated notifications, representing the highest need for protection. Yet, the stigma which prevents many indigenous coming forward. The continued systemic failure has failed the indigenous dismally. An astounding, one out of every four indigenous people,- now suffer homelessness.
The system is NOT working for the indigenous people.
Currently, in 2016, under the guise of cultural law, violent sexual perpetrators can access young victims readily, without fear of the law. Given the National Inquiry into Child- Sexual abuse one cannot help but wonder if certain aspects of cultural law have in fact been influenced by obsessed non-indigenous people, and even paedophiles.
The constant flow of young indigenous victims into their hands goes unevidenced due to the cultural pressures, whereby reporting to police is “culturally silenced and forbidden. Coupled with people fearing to dare criticize the indigenous culture as it has been criticized enough. The taboo and terror surrounding police, was probably influenced by non-indigenous criminal offenders in an effort, to benefit from and control the indigenous women and children.
There is no support for the abused children as they grow into adults. Paedophiles, abuse both male and females when the child abuse victims reach adulthood many men grapple to gain control of their lives gain sadly, often their partner is controlled. There can be no doubt from the statistics indigenous women suffers high violence at the hand of their men who have an inert overwhelming desire to control the woman, when the man needs help and has mixed up sexual feelings which go out of control, this is unethical. Some women are unable to pay or respond to SPER to sort out traffic fines. In some cases, someone else drove the car, and even though the woman only wanted to call SPER to transfer the fine into her direct-debit, the males think the woman is calling to ‘dob’ them in. One woman was so beaten when the Police bought her in for unpaid traffic fines she died from injuries her family allege were from her intimate partner. How could this woman explain her circumstances, even if she did want to talk to police, she was beaten to near death, and so she would have been dying when taken in and arrested for unpaid fines by the Police. The police fail to mention this woman was suffering horrific DV injuries which she died from. The police often deny criminals hospital treatment and the case is later dropped. This is a case where the woman sadly died from her pre-arrest injuries. This is another area where reform is needed; because this directly breaches human rights. Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention, yet now is considering the disgraceful proposal of denying indigenous DV victims the justice available to all other Australian people this proposal runs contra to the rule-of-law.
Because of the impacts child sexual abuse victims suffer many young people find solace in each other, so they are quick to get into a relationship, Recently, there has been a spike in DV within young indigenous couples. In indigenous culture, some women are controlled and in the name of cultural respect; they are forced to put up with it. This control becomes even more disproportionate when the indigenous men are being fed lies by a cultural belief; men can do what they want to women, and any people who report violence and rape, are called dogs and ousted out by the community. Indigenous women who report rape are often considered anti-community, and victims who do report sexual crimes, have been blamed for causing it, and have even become home-less.
Now, when we factor in NGO’s and the recent unearthed systemic abuse in refugee detention, juvenile detention, child protection and elderly residential homes and the recent national inquiry into institutional abuse – we can no longer leave NGO’s gaining funding unevaluated. The time has come, where we as a Nation, can no longer entrust non-evaluated NGO’s to oversee community projects. No more should we sit by whilst NGO’s profit when an operation fails to support those it was promised to serve.
What type of people answer calls to indigenous mothers of six children and do not take her complaint regarding her sixth child seriously, and instead give her a ‘red flag’. Most reasonable people would understand a mother of six children is well experienced in the health of a baby, subsequently this woman ‘Lucy’, continual pleas for medical assistance were ignored and she sadly lost her sixth child. The impacts of this loss can never be understood as this woman was herself a victim of horrendous child sexual abuse and wanted to help her child escape any suffering. This woman had dully called each day requiring URGENT medical help for her infant, and it was denied.
Question– We must ask the question, who is looking after our indigenous?
Answer– Well the real answer is we currently do NOT know; as out of the 1000 funded NGO groups working with indigenous communities only 24 have been evaluated.
This is indigenous land we live in, do not allow government to side with male patriarchal leaders who propose the government dismiss the rule of law, in regards to DV. This suggestion is a direct attack on democracy and basic human rights won thus far, and these legal rights are available to all Australian people.
Please stand with the indigenous women and children and insist the rule of law and fundamental rights are not stripped away from our First Australians. Evidence would suggest to the reasonable person, the law needs to protect indigenous women and children and these new DV proposals will further diminish the States duty of care, which is owed to all Australian people.
Many in society see a solution to DV lies with men, and a behavioural change across the board is needed. Men are beginning to take responsibility, and their influence and focus in the DV area is crucial to implement proactive change.
 This woman was visited by Josephine.