A culture left behind

A culture left behind, by Jacinta Price.

Like most traditional cultures around the world, Warlpiri culture is deeply patriarchal; men are ­superior to women and more privileged, and the collective quashes the rights of the individual. These principles, thousands of years old, come together to oppress women now.

If I misbehaved as a young girl, some well-intentioned family member might threaten me with forced marriage to a much older “promised husband”. I would obey out of terror.

Aboriginal children are rarely punished physically but are controlled psychologically. I recall when I was a little girl my female kin playing cards at Yuendumu. A Japangardi, one of my potential husbands, walked past. The women pretended he was coming to take me away. They teased me and huddled around, pretending to protect me from his clutches. He played along, pretending to grab for me. I was terrified. Everyone burst into laughter. Japangardi signalled it was all a joke and ­handed me a $20 note to compensate for the terror he caused me.

Girls are trained to be submissive from birth and their fear is laughed at. My mother was ­expected to join her middle-aged promised husband as his second wife at 13. She would have gone to her big sister’s household as her co-wife. Mum rebelled. Her father and promised husband relented and told her she could ­finish school first. They were good and thoughtful men who knew the law but also knew when not to enforce it and that the world was changing. Others of my ­mother’s age weren’t so lucky and were beaten senseless for daring to rebel. …

In customary law, a man is entitled to have sex with his promised wife without her consent. …

I know of many other cases like that: stories of rape, domestic violence and murder; stories belonging to women in my family and many other Aboriginal families. Stories that never reach the ears of the wider public. My close family regularly contributes to the hideous statistics relating to family ­violence. My Aboriginal sisters, aunts, mothers, nieces and daughters live this crisis every day. There is not a woman in my family who has not experienced some kind of physical or sexual abuse at some time in her life.

And none of the perpetrators were white. …

As an Aboriginal woman I have grown up knowing never to travel on certain roads during “business” time for fear of accidentally coming across a men’s ceremonial party. Like all Aboriginal women, I am at risk of being killed as punishment for making such a simple mistake. This was, and still is, the rule for Aboriginal women in central Australia. …

You can’t say no to kin. They have unrestricted access to your income and all of your assets under the old rules. Some kin will be addicted to alcohol, drugs and gambling. The addicted are allowed, under the rules of traditional culture, to demand their kin fund their addiction. It is the single biggest barrier to beneficial participation in the modern economy. If you are obliged to give, with no questions asked, you can’t budget, you can’t save, you can’t invest. It strips away your incentive to work.

Much more at the link.

Our media didn’t tell us about this. Why not? No doubt because it undermines some PC fantasies.

When will there be an Aboriginal #metoo movement? Are all cultures equal, as multiculturalism and the left proclaim?

hat-tip Stephen Neil, Barry Corke