Flat White

It’s an evil copout claiming domestic violence in Aboriginal communities comes from colonisation

25 November 2020

4:56 PM

25 November 2020

4:56 PM

When a black man hits a black woman it’s a white man’s fault, according to Diversity Council Australia.

The Council, quoting Indigenous activist Kelly Treloar, yesterday tweeted that a high rate of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities was the result of colonisation.

Well, of course.

And high rates of alcoholism in those same communities is the result of Advance Australia Fair.

Not really. But you wouldn’t put such a suggestion beyond Diversity Council Australia after yesterday’s effort. 

The Council tweeted: “Statistics show that First Nations women experience higher rates of #familyviolence than other women but this is a complex issue stemmed from issues of colonisation, trauma from displacement and legacy of intergenerational trauma.”

The first part of the tweet is indisputable. Statistics show that Indigenous women experience extraordinarily high rates of domestic violence.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that Indigenous women are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family violence than are non-Indigenous women.


But statistics also show that critical race theory and social justice scholarship will do less than nothing to fix the problem.

The second part of the tweet — the bit where it says the causes of domestic violence are “complex” and then immediately blames Arthur Phillip –- is disgraceful.

It is the racism of low expectations that suggests certain people have no autonomy and that their actions have been pre-determined by historical events because, you know, melanin. 

Personally, I would love to blame my own failures on the inter-generational trauma of convict transportation.

But I’m white, so unlike my Indigenous brothers, I am considered able to take responsibility for my actions.

It is just this kind of rubbish that permits suffering to continue unabated — suffering which is essential for groups like Diversity Council Australia to exist. 

Blaming domestic violence in Indigenous communities on colonisation ensures that domestic violence in Indigenous communities can never be stopped. It’s a classic case of ensuring that you never fix the patient so that you always have a patient to fix.

The Council may as well have tweeted, “Statistics show that First Nations women experience higher rates of #familyviolence than other women but we don’t care unless it fits our divisive identity politics”.

“A boat arrived at Sydney Cove 222 years ago” is no excuse for beating a woman.

And, “if it wasn’t for January 26 this would never have happened to you,” is no consolation to a battered woman. 

Domestic violence in Indigenous communities always was, always will be the responsibility of Indigenous men to own and to fix.

But as long as activists suggest that Indigenous men in 2020 are victims of white men from 1788, indigenous women — whose deaths by family violence far outnumber the Indigenous men who have died in custody and yet they receive none of the attention — will continue to suffer. 

Diversity Council Australia imagines that Indigenous people had never known violence until whites showed up in boats. This, of course, is nonsense. And everyone knows it.

Bone fracture pattern analysis of pre-settlement indigenous women, as well as testimony from the first settlers, has shown that brutal levels of violence existed in Indigenous communities long before 1770.

Diversity Council Australia though, to their credit, do ensure a diversity of views. There’s the truth, based on facts, and there’s the politically correct, self-serving fiction that the Council tweets

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