So men taking very young girls - only 5 years old in this case - for sex is not a recent phenomenon.
(Okay, there is a legitimate cultural issue here, even if the proponents of the stolen generations myth wont face it themselves, preferring rather to find some way to always blame 'whitey.' For instance, the practice of taking 'boy brides' was not unknown in several aboriginal tribes. One in the east had a separate word to describe a boy taken by a man for sex if he was older than 11 to that used for a boy younger than 11. Aboriginal men offering their womenfolk to be used by visitors for sex was recorded by the very first British settlers of the continent.)
At some stage we are going to have to face the truth about the state of aboriginal society during the 20th Century and give up on the naive white middle class myth of the noble savage.
Certainly many mistakes were made and racism was real, but this shows that many so-called "stolen" children in fact were removed for their own safety and that, (just as today), the sad reality was that one of the chief threats to the health and well being of aboriginal children were their own families.
We've just seen the jailing of a woman over east for prostituting her 12 year old daughter. Sadly, this was apparently not uncommon in a number of aboriginal communities in the early 1900s, and surely the crime would have been for the state not to have intervened and removed these children from being exploited by their own parents in this way?
But these are the kinds of children that people like Robert Manne insist are proof of the Stolen Generations. Indeed, one of the children he cites by name was a 12 year old abandoned girl who had syphilis. Another, of a similar age, was seven months pregnant when "stolen" by the authorities.
The language and attitudes of the writers are problematic for us today, but this shouldn't blind us to the terrible and shocking reality they faced and recorded.
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