White-washing Domestic Violence in Australia
Last week I woke to the front page of the of an eastern seaboard newspaper with a Legendary (for rugby and rightly so) Darren Lockyer leading a ‘spontaneous’ groundswell of top Queenslanders” calling on folk to do everything in their power to stop domestic violence. Domestic violence in the NRL notwithstanding, you can read more about that here, BUT, bugger me dead every single one of these 9 folks on the front page are non-Indigenous. Last week was also the Our Watch Awards put on by the Walkey’s. The winners, non-Indigenous. Michelle Aleksandrovics and Minelle Creed from SBS’ Living Black Radio were up for a nomination with “Breaking Community Silence on Violence Against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women”. The ONLY Indigenous coverage in any category. The conversations were with two Indigenous women and three Indigenous men, myself included. Indigenous females experience 38 times the rate of hospitalisation than other females for domestic violence and yet the only coverage of the violence was not worthy of recognition.
“These awards would lead someone to think that domestic violence is white middle-class issue only” – Quote
FACT: Across a 12-month period an estimated 42,300 Indigenous Australian women had experienced one or more incidents of physical violence
Myself, and a few others, are getting quite incensed at the way the response to these social issues construct create a narrative the removes the positive and self determining agency of Indigenous people and forfeits position in the conversation in favour of non-Indigenous Australians. Credit where credit is due. Just about every social cause in Australia you can find Indigenous people at the pointy end of the stick, i.e. in the high percentile of the ill fated recipients, be it domestic violence or suicide. But time after time after time that stick is stuck in the sand and we become invisible. Insert obligatory non-offensive prefix of “I like white people, hell I even look like one” quote – My mother and her family are white. So are my husband and his family. But fair shake of the sauce bottle. I’m fair dinkum when I say that the whitewashing of social issues that relate to life ending and life-threatening circumstances can longer be. This about being anti-white or pro-domestic violence it is about fighting this scourge as a community, and that means Including Indigenous people, with Indigenous women at the front. Namely, Michelle Aleksandrovics and Minelle Creed, but also Social Commentators Celeste Liddle and Kelly Briggs, CEO of Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Violence Antoinette Braybook, Lawyer Louise Taylor and the chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Megan Davies.
FACT: A 2011 survey reports that 86 per cent of Indigenous Australians had experience with domestic violence, compared to 63 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.
Please, this is not to take away the great work of Rosie Batty, Lisa Wilkinson and all the Our Watch Award winners and indeed the front pagers but, Indigenous females experience 38 times the rate of hospitalisation than other females for domestic violence. SO COME ON.
If there is anything that our country has learnt is that non-Indigenous Australians cannot solve the problem of Indigenous Australians without actual Indigenous Australians. So let’s fix this bloody awful mess up TOGETHER. Reconciliation isn’t just a bridge walk, a t-shirt, an action plan or something to wear on your wrist, its actually stand side by side and saying, ‘I got you’, to each other. And for the guys out there beating up women, murdering women, raping women, and just generally being awful to women, JUST STOP. Get some help. You need it.
CALL 1800 RESPECT (737 732) or checkout their website https://www.1800respect.org.au