Five days later, I’m still troubled by some paragraphs on the front page of The Australian on Monday. I haven’t noticed anyone drawing attention to them, even though they are deeply concerning.
The article is about historian Keith Windschuttle’s questioning of the authenticity of the film Rabbit-Proof Fence (‘Rabbit-Proof Fence grossly inaccurate; Windschuttle’, The Australian, Monday, December 14, p 1).
Windschuttle claims that sisters Molly Craig, 14, Daisy Kadibill, 8, and their cousin Gracie Fields, 10, were not removed from their families to “breed out the colour” but because of their “sexual activity with white men working in the area”. The girls had been accused of “running wild”. The article continues:
“’Running wild’ was said to be a contemporary euphemism for promiscuity, which meant the girls were having sex with the white males in the area”, Windschuttle writes in the preface of his new work.
…They didn’t say these girls were screwing boys, they said they were running wild…anyone from that era knows the meaning of the term.”
Now let’s just have another look at the ages of these girls – they are 14, 8 and 10.
Girls this age are not “having sex”. They are not at an age where they can consent to “have sex”. They are being sexually assaulted.
Did eight-year-old Daisy decide she wanted to “run wild” with “white men working in the area”? Why is all the emphasis on the supposed behaviour of very young girls – who were in need of protection – and not on what must have been predatory white males preying on vulnerable indigenous children?
This sort of wording is dangerous to all little girls. It suggests they desire sex with older men and lends permission to those men who see even very young girls as up for grabs and ‘asking for’ what they get.