Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Batiba Guwiyal: Extinguishing the flame of pain: Healing our communities from the impacts of child sexual abuse (#103)

Carol Vale 1
  1. Murawin, Petrie, QLD, Australia

Healing our communities from the impacts of child sexual abuse in any one family is a complex journey. Healing the impacts from a community perspective is even more complex but at the heart of all of these situations, is the right of our children to be safe, healthy and culturally strong, to have access to all that is needed for them to live happy, healthy lives. The journey to healing is marred with pain and heartache on the one hand – but when the rainbow is able to shine through the clouds of hurt, there is immense joy and hope for all those involved.

Walking between the two worlds of government bureaucracy and community driven solutions brings with it a whole raft of challenges and opportunities and showing leadership in this arena is tricky business. In this presentation I will explore the rhetoric and reality of tackling the impacts of child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities and our families, and argue that we all have a role to play in driving change through mobilising adaptive work.

‘Batiba Guwiyal’ means to extinguish the flame and my workshop will focus on insights and solutions that have been shared at the inaugural Batiba Guwiyal conference and seminars and workshops I have held around the country to raise awareness of how we collaborate to tackle the impacts of child sexual abuse in our communities. I will share stories of community led solutions in relation to healing, cultural resurgence and resilience. The workshop will highlight some of those solutions discussed by Indigenous communities to keep our kids safe and begin healing processes for those of us who have experienced this issue either directly or indirectly and those of who have family that deal with the impacts of this issue.

The impacts are spoken of in many reports and are at the heart of many of stories of heartache and pain. More often than not, where there is a story of child abuse and neglect, for more times that we could imagine, there is a story of child sexual abuse.