What a sad and poignant story was depicted on the front page of Monday’s “Australian”, (‘Kumanjayi bashed me, but I loved him’). It is incredible to think that a young girl, a maturing teenager, should think that her partner had the right to bash her brutally and for long periods of time.
How can it be possible in the way things are viewed by the majority of people, for Walker to forgive his partner Rickisha Robertson for the fact that her presence motivated him to abuse and beat her so savagely. Forgiveness from Robertson toward Walker, albeit misplaced, is understandable but for him to forgive her for being the person she was, is beyond the pale of comprehension.
The story reminds me of the fact that in traditional times and before the arrival of Europeans in Australia, Indigenous women were deemed to be the property of men. They were objects men could do with as they saw fit. During my time of working in remote areas of WA during the 1970’s, entitlement and possessiveness of girls and women by men, was still very much a part of life.
The worm is turning, but to this day far too many men regard women and girls as goods and ‘possessions’ to be dealt with as they like. This story confirms just how far we have to go in shedding and hopefully eliminating this thinking and subsequent actions from indigenous and indeed from all cultural mores.