By ERWIN CHLANDA
The public of Alice Springs is both inured to violence in Aboriginal society, because of its frequency, and afraid of speaking out about it, lest this is interpreted as being racist.
So says Russell Goldflam (pictured), president of the Criminal Lawyers Association, in a comment on the current debate, involving Chief Minister Adam Giles, about the alleged rape of an Aboriginal nine year old girl in an Alice Springs town camp.
“I agree that there has been a worrying lack of public outcry when it comes to violence perpetrated upon Aboriginal people compared to violence against members of the general community,” says Mr Goldflam.
He says he can understand the point made by Mr Giles, that if it had been a white girl there would have been a “huge national outcry”.
Instead, this story “hardly surfaced before it sank again”. One reason the media did not give the story much prominence was that “police have been miserly in their release of information”.
He says that in the past, extensive coverage was given to cases of sexual abuse of Aboriginal children, leading to the “Little Children are Sacred” report and the Federal intervention it triggered. These days, when more such cases come to light, many people in the community just “switch off”.
Mr Goldflam says the community is experiencing “horror fatigue. There is a sense of inhibition about drawing attention to problems in Aboriginal communities which could lead to accusations of being racist.
“People don’t want to be part of criticising a community which is collectively a huge victim.”
Town inured to Aboriginal violence: lawyer
By ERWIN CHLANDA