What does it really mean to adopt a ‘Zero Tolerance to Lateral Violence’ statement?
Establishing a position on Lateral Violence is necessary if we want to begin introducing the true history of Australia into our communities. By addressing the true meaning of Lateral Violence we can attempt to halt this debilitating insidious discrimination dead in its tracks.
Adopting a position on Lateral Violence brings with it a responsibility to ensure that all of our staff, memberships, affiliates, constituents and family members are made aware of the true meaning of Lateral Violence which is a complex manifestation of the forced bad policies and laws inflicted on the sovereign owners of this land since colonisation. We must unpack the issues and delve into the historical context behind this insidious, self-perpetuating racism.
Zero Tolerance to Lateral Violence cannot be attained through a tokenistic statement implementation; it must be delivered alongside a holistic educational regime aimed at ensuring ‘Cultural Safety’ is the foundation that underpins every service, program and opportunity for Aboriginal and Islander peoples. Programs built on this foundation of truth need to be extensive, accredited and accountable. Only when we have the education stable around the true meaning of Lateral Violence will we be able to instill in our children what it is to live in the opposite of what we have all come to accept as the norm in our current day. Programs with accountability, accreditation and sustainability within our organisations and programs need to be driven in an ongoing capacity to ensure we stamp out Lateral Violence once and for all.
In order for us to be successful, we will need to eliminate the root cause of the problems rather than excuse them away with bureaucratic diatribe or even paralysis and western ideologies around human resources, we need to free ourselves from the clouding techniques used by so many to avoid acknowledging and addressing the hard hitting issues that are devastating our people and our communities. Lateral Violence is the root cause, it affects every aspect of a person’s wellbeing, carrying with it, serious and in many cases devastating, trans-generational traumas not only for the individual but right through to the family, community and organisations associated with each and every one of us who have been tarnished with this deep seated negativity.
Adopting a ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy is about making a commitment that we will no longer tolerate, accept or condone any behaviors underpinned by Lateral Violence. To do this we must ensure that the true meaning of the term is understood by each and every Aboriginal and Islander person in this country, and also the non-Aboriginal people of Australia. The 7 generations of deliberate colonisation tactics are a major part of this countries true history, and these are the acts that have embedded within our collective cultural psyches this self-generating debilitating affliction of oppression and hate, in the hope that we will eventually eliminate one another.
Albeit a conscious or sub-conscious use of Lateral Violence in any situation, Lateral Violence will no longer be tolerated.
To be leaders and advocates in the elimination of the Lateral Violence disease we need to vaccinate our future generations from its effect. We are the only ones who can bring about this change. Aboriginal and Islander people need to take responsibility for our own healing for the sake of the children and young people of today, who cannot see any benefit or worth to pursuing another minute in our communities and society. By investing in ourselves and pushing past the pain and grief of what we have become, we will be able to develop educational materials that will document the impacts of colonisation in such a way that our true histories can never be denied, the impact of the seven generations will be there for all to witness and acknowledge. Strategies can then focus on ensuring our children and the future generations have access to this truth and can learn and progress in a society which will set them free from the Lateral Violence binds of survival that so many of us continue to live with in this current day. Let us not allow another elder to leave this physical world carrying alone the terrible traumas and burden colonisation has smothered us with.
The primary goal of including a ‘Zero Tolerance to Lateral Violence’ clause is to strengthen our cultural codes of conduct, improve the reflection of truth within our educational systems and communities, improve behavioural interventions and ultimately eliminate this disruptive, destructive force from our homes, communities and workplaces.
All it takes is a conscious effort to change our collective understanding, shift our perspectives and add a touch of optimism with positive empowerment and we can turn Lateral Violence into Lateral Love. This year marks the beginning of the Decade of Lateral Love Campaign – Lateral Love and Spirit of Care for All Humankind 2012 – 2022. Let’s all work towards giving our children something to live for, leave them with a legacy they can be proud of. They need us to make this important change so that each and every Aboriginal and Islander child can move forward to reach their full potentials within a society built on Unity through Truth, Healing and Justice.
April 28, 2012