Today I learned through a follower of this blog about an important indigenous healing initiative in Australia. It is called Lateral Love Australia and is intended to explore and help overcome the opposite of lateral love: Lateral violence.
Lateral violence happens when people who are both victims of a situation of dominance, in fact turn on each other rather than confront the system that oppresses them both.
I was touched by this initiative. I have witnessed many instances where people in marginalized communities I served in were hurting each other. Instead of pulling together towards healing from various forms of colonial trauma, people engage in acts of lateral violence (gossip, bullying, blaming, alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence, suicide). This only creates more hurt and pain, helps reinforce stereotypes, and perpetuates racism.
I hope we can learn from this unconventional initiative of Aborigines peoples in Australia. The dynamics of colonial trauma are the same here in the Yukon, in Canada, in North America. They continue to persist (as I have described in my thesis research “Reconsidering the NO SHOW stamp: Increasing cultural safety by making peace with a colonial legacy”, Northern Review, 36 (Fall 2012 – in print), and continue to affect in a negative way the cross-cultural relationships and the way to healing for all!
I encourage you to explore the discussion of lateral violence in the extensive writings on this website: Lateral Love Australia. It is not only a call for love, but a call for social justice – and it is applicable universally, wherever people marginalize other people!
On a lighter note: Here is an illustrated proverb from the Australian Aborigines that I found on the Lateral Love Australia website. It is so fitting with my theme for this blog: A journal of ways and visits from my life’s journey!