In 2007, Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle – or the Little Children Are Sacred Report – exposed the complexity and shame of sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.
Constant media focus on child abuse in the NT followed. Daily reports in The Australian newspaper and nightly stories on ABC’s Lateline.
They covered, paedophile rings, chronic neglect, kids sniffing petrol, kids roaming the streets day and night and the sexual abuse of kids, including kids abusing other kids. All fueled by a daily diet of pornography and alcohol.
Shocking, awful stuff. Hard to digest, hard to think about and harder to know where to start. But, in time, easy to ignore.
With the 2007 Federal Election looming, the NT intervention was announced in response to this ‘national emergency’.
Just after another election, it’s a good time to ask – has childhood improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children?
I’m not sure.
Media stories of neglect and abuse continue. Negative images of Aboriginal kids and families dominate.
Take a look at this photo of a two year old Aboriginal girl from NT in a News.com.au article.
What’s your first thought when you look at it?
At first glance it’s hard not to think she’s been punched.
I had to ask myself, why was that my first thought?
Are we getting any better at providing kids like this with a good childhood?