THE SERIOUS STICKS DIDJERIDU FORUM

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PostPosted: 31.08.2007, 13:22 
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Joined: 23.06.2006, 15:36
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Location: Manchester England
Hi Phil

I don't disagree with most of what you are saying

Again I only made comment regarding your comment about not seeing any evidence of child abuse. I am simply pointing that we shouldn't asume its not happening through lack of evidence

I accept randys and your own valid concerns regarding law and taking away peoples land,

I'm sure we all find child abuse aborhent but it generally never is a glaring, obvious problem

You may well not have intended to suggest in your post that this is the case, I just felt it was a point worth raising

I'm not suggesting your generally being unrealistic regarding this issue

I'm just questioning how realistic it is to consider "i didn't see any evidence of abuse" as relevant to levels of child abuse in any community

I was in Sri Lanka 9 years ago when the government was making very strong moves to stamp out pheodophiles travelling to Sri Lanka as sex tourist.

I personally did not see any evidence of child prostitution, but I wouldn't take that as evidence for the scale of the problem in Sri Lanka at that time


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PostPosted: 31.08.2007, 16:02 
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Hey Paul,

Fair enough. Clearly child abuse exists everywhere and it's not a good thing. I really didn't get the sense though that it's any more of a problem there than in my own society.
If you read this report though, their "evidence" of child abuse is highly suspect. The only solid fact I saw in skimming the report was that Aboriginal health clinics reported a slightly higher incidence of sexually transmitted disease among underage Aboriginal people in the NT than that found among underage city folk in the rest of Australia. To me all this suggests is that teenagers aren't using condoms.
What really bugs me about this report is what's being defined as abuse. Literally, traditional arranged marriages are now being called sexual abuse, as is consensual intercourse between people who are underage by Australian legal standards, but not by local cultural standards. These are cultural differences, not abuse.
Just to put this in perspective, I saw this one baby born to an underage mother (15 I think) while I was there; the child was being very well taken care of by the mother and the father (also underage, 16 or 17 I think), as well as extended family members. The child's birth also seemed to exert a really positive influence on the father, who clearly started taking more active responsibility in his life, and taking his work more seriously. According to this report however, the birth of this child would be taken as evidence of "child sexual abuse", and according to the terms of this new legislation, the child's family would suffer consequences: decreased welfare payments, etc.
To put it in another light, I would think that if your government, or my government, were to enact legislation that deprived us of some basic human rights, purportedly in response to some "crisis", we would want to see hard evidence of that crisis. There is no evidence of said crisis in this report, just grumbles and whispers, and the sources of those grumbles and whispers are not cited. A few statistics have been thrown in with the grumbles and whispers, but none of them point firmly to a sexual abuse crisis, perhaps rather simply a lack of sex-ed and contraceptive use.
From what I saw, there's no readily visible evidence of a crisis in the Gove area, and the majority of the Yolngu people I talked to thought it was crap, and said it was just a cynical campaign tactic to make Aboriginal people look bad and make it look like the government was doing something.
Further, in my experience politicians rarely act out of anyone's best interests but their own, and most of what they say is highly suspect at the best of times. I just have a hard time believing that stripping away the permit access system, making it much easier to drop or cut people's welfare payments, making community councils effectively powerless, imposing martial law, and forcibly "leasing" people's land from them has anything to do with a "crisis" of child sexual abuse.


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PostPosted: 31.08.2007, 16:48 
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Hi Phil

Sounds like a real un-pleasant can of worms, I don't even know where you would start trying to make sense of it all


on a lighter note sounds like you had a very interesting cultural experience over in AL!!!!


Paul


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PostPosted: 01.09.2007, 00:48 
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Location: Salt Lake City? Really? How did that happen?
Paul wrote:
Seperate issues Randy

Of course they are, that was my whole point, and the only reason that any of this is worth discussing in an Aboriginal Issues thread. The government is making it all one issue. The amount of abuse happening here is not the real issue, it's just a smokescreen.

If the government was saying, 'there's sexual abuse happening in Arnhem Land, so we're going to send in educators, health workers and police to work with the communities to help tackle this issue,' that would be great. But what they're doing is using it as an excuse to force the acquisition of Aboriginal lands on leases, to dismantle the Community Development Employment Program, which provides subsidy training wages for jobs for Aboriginal People, to apoint administrators with authority over community councils, to stipulate that Aboriginal customary law will no longer be considered in any court cases (whether related to sexual abuse or not), to eliminate the permit system which allows Aboriginal People say over who comes to their land, etc. etc. One bureaucrat even admitted that part of the point was to get Aboriginal People to move off of their homelands!!! They would never say it like this, and probably wouldn't even acknowledge it to themselves, but they are simply trying to end traditional Aboriginal culture because it doesn't fit in comfortably with a western economy and doesn't allow the government full access to lots of land!

And get this - the community council was told point blank by the head of the "intervention" that the changes would NOT include additional police at any point or permanent medical staff beyond checks of all children for signs of abuse. The whole thing is a disaster that will result in disempowerment of Aboriginal People, no continued support, and no work to address the roots of the problems.

That's the issue!

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-Randin Graves


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