State-sanctioned child abuse

abc four corners

Footage from Four Corners

As I sat back watching ABC program Four Corners last night on ABC iView, I couldn’t help but think ‘What if that was me?’, or ‘What if that was my brother?’. Then I realised, as a Christian and believer of Christ – That is me! That is my brother! How can I sit here and let this happen? How can anyone just sit here and let any of this happen? And What Would Jesus Do?

The kind of ill treatment these young people experienced by grown ass hairy men is just too bad to be justified or tolerated. You wouldn’t wish that kind of treatment upon your own dog, or any animal. So why is it allowed to happen to a person? A human being? And not just any person or human being, the majority are young Aboriginal people.

Sitting there watching I realised that the mentality of the guards is a mentality that has been bred and woven through this country towards Aboriginal people since the First Fleet. Our people, my people, my ancestors were merely thought of as flora and fauna and did not deserve or earn the right to be treated as a human being according to these newcomers.

How are we supposed to move forward towards Self Determination, Self Respect and Self Empowerment if this is the type of treatment our upcoming generation is experiencing? Where are their voices amongst this and how are they able to tell their stories?

This all could have been avoided but sadly this is now a part of their story, their song-line. How can anybody be proud of that? Watching the guest speaker try their hardest to explain what had happened, and what they had seen, I was disappointed that nobody stood up and simply said ‘This needs to stop, and this needs to stop now! No questions asked’. Asking for a Royal Commission is going to take even longer when it is a no-brainer. This facility, their staff, that program needs to be non-existent and fast if we want to actually help young people both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rehabilitate themselves, give them hope for a better future and nurture their spiritual and mental well-being.

This is an injustice to the human rights of a child. If we call ourselves civilised and decent human beings, then we need to act like it and stop allowing people and programs like this to corrupt the systems. We need to stand up for our fellow human beings.

Rhanee Tsetsakos is an Adnyamathanha woman from the Northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia. She is currently residing in Queensland and is passionate about working with children, youth and young adults. Rhanee is a member of the Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress but would like to state that this is her own personal view and not that of the Church, but can imagine that others would be thinking the same.

Photo: ABC Four Corners

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One Response to “State-sanctioned child abuse”

  1. Rohan Pryor

    Thanks for giving voice to our horror at the brutality and injustice our systems continue to allow, Rhanee. We need to stand together for our fellow human beings, especially those most vulnerable and most abused.