Family Violence and Abuse in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Essay by chookezUniversity, Bachelor's April 2008

download word file, 9 pages 1.0

Domestic Violence is one of the most universally common crimes within Australia. It has no discriminatory base and happens to individuals of all cultures, race, religion, economic status and gender. It is, however, a particularly copious problem within indigenous communities within Australia. .

Indigenous perceptions on domestic violence is generally broader than mainstream definitions of domestic violence. Indigenous peoples prefer the term family violence as it exhibits their experiences better. “Family violence reflects any use of force, be it physical or non-physical, which is aimed at controlling another family or community member an which undermines that persons wellbeing.”( Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Commissioner 2006)The definition of domestic violence in Indigenous communities is generally universal, and gender neutral, however, a majority of the sources consider that domestic violence is an act committed by men against women. There are a assortment of theoretical approaches explaining the ancestry of domestic violence.

Feminists argue that domestic violence is motivated by male domination over women. (Table 1)-----------------------------------------------------------Table 1-----------------------------------------------------------HypothesisAll Indigenous men are potential perpetrators of domestic violenceResultFalseDiscussionIn Indigenous culture, women and men shared a comparative status. Customary law condoned domestic abuse.“For thousands of years there were specifically designed laws to prevent incest and abuse” (Christopherson, 2001)-----------------------------------------------------------Hypothesis:Indigenous men, post-colonisation are potential perpetrators of domestic violenceResult:TrueDiscussion:Indigenous men learnt to assert supremacy over women from the Europeans. Feminists argue that patriarchal values , for example ‘men rule the roost, and women have to obey’ (Smallwood, 1996: 134), of the western societies dominate their social structures.

-----------------------------------------------------------Hypothesis:Domestic violence, post colonisation is a means of punishing Indigenous women’s exhibition of independence and in so doing affirming male dominance & hegemony over women.

Result:TrueDiscussion:Atkinson 1990 states that Indigenous male perpetrators are “ young men with no power except that which they enforce on young women” Atkinson (1996a :8).

Indigenous men...