Comments on Tony Koch “Yet more proof of need to act”, 3/07/2009, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25725997-5017272,00.html
The focus should be on the present and the future but not too much on the past
The revelation that there has been wide spread sexual abuses of children girls in a community is shocking and most other Australians would feel outraged by that fact. Actions must be taken to protect vulnerable children to prevent any further abuses.
However, given the complex issues related to so many aspects of Indigenous people’s lives, a simplistic approach is unlikely to be productive. For example, a compulsory check for possible sexual abuses of each Indigenous girl may be one step too far, because it can cause distress to those children and their families involved. It is racially discriminative, because it is not done to non-Indigenous people, although sexual abuses do not occur to the same degree for the latter group.
There might be a need to rethink fundamentally about the approaches to the issues of abuse in Indigenous communities. International experiences such as peace and reconciliation in South Africa suggest that it is better to focus on the present and the future rather than on the past.
Such a similar approach to the issue of children sexual abuses in Indigenous community may sounds inappropriate to many in the first thought, but it may be more effective than a racially discriminatory and compulsive approach. Rationality and emotions are both important in addressing difficult issues.