by Emily Landstrom
It is a fine art to be able to acknowledge something and yet at the same time to completely ignore it. How can something be so well known by a person or community and yet be completely bypassed as well? In my experience, small that it is, it appears that the Australian culture lives within this paradox when it comes to crime. Even though the crime rates are ever increasing, there seems to still be an obliviousness surrounding the topic.
Sydney, like most major cities worldwide, is bound to be filled with crime. The intensity of the crime ranges from driving offences to violent theft to sexual offenses. According to Space Time Research, Sydney has maintain the highest crime rate overall in Australia for the past ten years (howsafeisyoursuburb.appspot.com). This is primarily because the vast amount of people in the area and the commercial businesses that it attracts. However, my point is not to focus primarily on the statistics but rather on the principle of the matter. Yes, there is crime, but the people do not seem to acknowledge the crime until it is right in front of their face. For example, when I met my host family for the first time, one of the first things they told me about the train stations was to not go or stop in Redfern. They said that it was a bad part of town and was best to avoid it, nothing more than that. It was almost as if they were trying to shove the truth of the matter under the table. On the other hand, their response was quite different when they heard about the horrible assault of the 18-year-old in Baulkham Hills last Sunday night (au.news.yahoo.com). They were very quick to explain the situation and how it should affect my decisions of where I go. It is as if they will only admit the problem when it directly affects them.
I do not mean to say all this about the Australian culture and exclude the American culture from this. In fact, I admit that I am subject to this kind of thinking myself. But where does that get us? Is there anything we can do about the situation? Yes, there is. Here are a few simple ideas to make the change. First, we must not ignore the facts until it affects us. Second, we must admit the problem. Third, we must do something about it. This could be as simple as working with people you know who are involved in crimes or partnering with an organization who is already working to give people another option of living. There are many ways to help the situation, but we must remember it is one person at a time beginning with ourselves.
Space Time Research. (accessed March 6, 2013). http://howsafeisyoursuburb.appspot.com/#view=view4SuburbTop10Bar
Yahoo News. (accessed Marck 6, 2013). http://au.news.yahoo.com/nsw/latest/a/-/latest/16288379/teen-subjected-to-worst-kind-of-sex-attack/