If you are young and Indigenous you will most likely know this word: Shame! This word is universal in the Indigenous world and for those who don’t know it is used in the context to express being embarrassed or shameful. One of the many times we feel “shame” is when it comes to talking about sex and relationships, even our parents feel shame talking to us about it and this is often where us mob miss out on important information!
Having that talk about sex and relationships is important so we can live strong healthy lives and keep our culture strong for many more years to come. Aboriginal people have one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs), especially those that live in remote communities.
Having that yarn with Mum, Dad, Nan, Pop, Aunty, Uncle or even older cousins is important so we know how to have safe sex and protect our mob from STIs, BBVs and unplanned pregnancy.
We all know how shame it can be to have this yarn but if you really don’t feel comfortable talking to family or if you’re that person getting asked and you don’t know the answers don’t just pass on the conversation entirely. There are websites which offer a variety of information on these topics such as Young Deadly Free, Let's Yarn and Get the Facts.
You can also go to your local health clinic or Aboriginal Medical Service where a professional can help you get the right information. Also know that there is nothing wrong with going to these places as that is what they are there for, to help support our mob.
Although it is very important to talk about sex it is equally as important to talk about relationships and what a healthy relationship is. Our mob have very high rates of domestic violence and it’s important that our young people don’t get caught in this cycle. Respect is one of the most important values to have in a relationship and it is when one starts disrespecting the other that we watch many relationships fall apart and this can lead to domestic violence. Respect is one of the biggest values we take pride in as Indigenous people. Start teaching this from a young age and our young people will grow up respecting each other and making relationships successful not only with their partners but also with family and friends.
If you think you are experiencing an unhealthy relationship don’t be afraid to seek help. There are services that you can walk into or make a phone call to that will help keep you safe such as Relationships WA. To find out more information please visit www.relationshipswa.org.au or call 1300 364 277. Or you can use the Find a Service feature on Get the Facts.
This week is NAIDOC week and the theme is Because of Her We Can. For more information visit the NAIDOC website and visit www.naidoc.org.au/get-involved/naidoc-week-events to find out about NAIDOC events in your area.