Wednesday, March 05, 2008

it's just not cricket*

There are a few distinctives of Australian culture that help us stand out from the morass of well satisfied, monotone Western cultures. One is 'tall poppy syndrome' - we have an incredible propensity for chopping anyone who dares attempt to stand out from the crowd down to size. Making more money than most of us? Fantastic grades? Astronomical success? It's just not cricket and we'll sniff out your Achilles heel if it kills us and bight you hard.

The other thing we don't do is dob. There are times when we discover a person is breaking the law, smoking dope, cheating on their tax, abusing their wife and child. But it's just not cricket to dob. Don't betray them. Don't do the right thing and inform the authorities. Instead we're more likely to pull together and protect the criminal. Of course this is a broad generalisation - not all Australians fail to report a law breaker and not all of us do our best to protect someone who is hurting others. But as a rule, dobbers are not well respected here. Neither is authority.

Where did these tendencies come from? I suspect the convicts. When we got off those ships we stepped into a hard place in which criminals suffered atrocious conditions and dreadful treatment. The land was hard to survive on and we fought just to stay alive - and escape the English soldiers. If anyone dobbed, the escapee would be caught. This was not cricket. Somehow this mentality is engrained in us.

This isn't to say Australia doesn't have systems in place to support and encourage the reporting of crime. We do! One such system is the 'Child Protection Authority'. It is mandatory to report any instance of child abuse. In a crazy twist of loyalties, to not report child abuse is to break the law.

It might be the law, and I did it, but I feel hollow. I feel like a traitor. I am devastated by what my actions might do to this family. I only hope the stand I took might improve things for this beautiful, beautiful child.

But it's just not cricket!

* it's just not cricket: Australian slang; having something that is unjust or just plain wrong done to someone or something. This came from the game of cricket which was regarded as a gentleman's game where fairplay was paramount.

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At 1:49 am, March 06, 2008, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

You my lady, are my hero! You may not feel good about what you did, but you just showed a child that someone is paying attention and will not stand for abuse.

At 6:50 am, March 06, 2008, Blogger Mike S said...

As a victim of several years of extreme abuse I only wish you'd been around back then. I still have the scars, physical and emotional. Anyone who would abuse a helpless person or animal is beneath contempt. Thank you on behalf of the one who'll benefit from your actions.

At 12:09 pm, March 06, 2008, Blogger Heather said...

You did the right thing for a child, and that's what counts.

At 6:38 pm, March 08, 2008, Anonymous Leah said...

You were brave where so many are not. Like MikeS, I so wish that someone, anyone had intervened in my family (I never experienced physical abuse - just significant mental and emotional abuse).

You doing what God calls us to - stand up on behalf of those who cannot stand up for themselves.

"He will make your righteousness shine like a light, your just cause like the noonday sun" Ps. 37:6

"And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." Is. 58:10

I know the "real world" implications of "dobbing" (we'd say "ratting out" here in the US) can be significant.

I pray for strength and peace for you.


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