09 Jan Lateral Violence Workshops for 2015
This year my co-trainer, Rob Monaghan and I will be focusing on Lateral Violence and Aboriginal people… but what exactly is Lateral Violence? Some people describe it as horizontal or intra-racial violence. R Frankland and P Lewis in a Presentation to Social Justice Unit staff for the Australian Human Rights Commission (March 2011) describe Lateral Violence as:
‘The organised, harmful behaviours that we do to each other collectively as part of an oppressed group: within our families; within our organisations and; within our communities. When we are consistently oppressed we live with great fear and great anger and we often turn on those who are closest to us.’
So, why are we even talking about this? I have had my own experiences with this concept – a few years ago I was personally involved in a public incident when I was verbally attacked for not ‘looking Aboriginal enough’. At the time I wrote a letter to the Koori Mail describing the incident but soon after I had a kind of call to action where I felt compelled to develop a workshop around this issue
I know that many other Aboriginal people have experienced criticism from others around skin colour and/or appearance, cultural, economic or employment issues and the latest ‘Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage’ report (2014) indicates that Aboriginal people are experiencing higher levels of psychological distress. My personal belief is that we, as Aboriginal people may be contributing to this very issue and the first step in rectifying this is to have the discussion around it – it’s definitely not easy but it’s time to start to start supporting each other.
Rob and I have worked with many groups over the last few years and have had the pleasure of travelling to Perth, Hobart and Wodonga to present our one-day workshop called ‘The Black Poppy Syndrome: Aboriginal People and Lateral Violence’. It’s been deadly to work with the ACLO’s and Aboriginal Police Officers in the NSW force as well as Aboriginal staff from Housing NSW, Department of Juvenile Justice and Aboriginal Medical Services around NSW. We have had a great response from our peeps and some really positive discussions have been had. We hope to continue facilitating these workshops around the country so if you have any information or resources around Lateral Violence please feel free to flick me an email.