Silence is Not Golden

“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Ellie Wiesel

Never has the above quote been more true than in South Australia at the moment. The last Rebuttal article focused on the interpreter situation in South Australia. We wrote this article after being sent the open letter to the Deaf community in South Australia from Deaf Australia. The letter, of course, outlined the situation between Deaf Can Do and the National Auslan Booking Service.

Since writing the article The Rebuttal has received numerous communications on the subject. None of them paint the sorry saga in a very positive light. Unfortunately the communication has all been off the record. People feel that they will be victimised if they say anything openly. This is not surpising in a small state like South Australia where everyone knows everyone.

The Rebuttal is known for saying things as they are. However we can only cop so many bullets on behalf of others. In the past people have spoken out and been threatened with legal action. We at The Rebuttal are conscious that a lot of what is going on borders on bullying and victimisation. However, the threat of legal action is very real and we must remain cautious.

It is not helped by the fact that many of the people that are writing into us might, if it was known that they have written, be threatened with their jobs. All it takes is for their name to get out and suddenly they will be seen as a threat. They might suddenly see that they are no longer booked for jobs or the job they have might suddenly not be there anymore. THIS IS THE SITUATION AND THE FEARS ARE VERY REAL.

It is also not helped by the fact that the state advocacy body, through no fault of its own, has board members who are in fact employed by the agency that they may have to complain about. This is part of the reason that Deaf Australia are involved, simply because Deaf Australia South Australia has members that are not in a position to complain. It is not a healthy situation at all but a fact of life in a small state like South Australia who have a very small Deaf community.

However, we would like to remind people that there are laws that protect people against bullying and victimisation. If you feel that you might be bullied or victimised and know that something not right is happening we would encourage you to talk to organisations like Deaf Australia, Deafness Forum or even the Australian Sign Languahge Interpreters Association for advice.

Clearly something is not quite right in this situation.  Remaining silent it will help no one. Seek advice now.

8 thoughts on “Silence is Not Golden

  1. I can’t say I have ever been accused of being silent lol…… The ‘silent majority’ is non-extant, perhaps an apathetic majority is more like it. On one hand deaf are demanding rights, but it is cancelled out by the rest too bluddy lazy to fight for them…. The campaigning stopped 10 years ago really. Most strong campaigners are now online bemoaning the fact they are neutered by their own sector, and wailing while pulling their hair out about what was… Most deaf organisations are hearing run again, we are back to 1950….

    Damn the silent majority, are they worth helping ? Do they even exist ?

  2. MM – That is the question that has been bugging me for a few months now. Are they worth helping? Do they even exist?

    Do they even WANT help? Do they care so little about their rights that they are happy to saunter through life taking what they can when they can with little thought of the people fighting for them.

    It is disheartening to be part of a community with very little to no fighting spirit.

    • TT and MM .. My experience is different from yours. I find, in general that most people are passionate to be involved and lobby. The difficulty is that many just do not know how. Perhaps they have difficulty expressingthemselves, lack confidence dont know how tgo proceed and so on. So often it takes leadership to get a good lobby going. Sure there is apathy and sometimes there is just life getting in the way. Its easy to be negative on everyone but I think your thrpowing all in the one apathy basket is too harsh.

  3. I wouldn’t say negative ! although I know some people get annpoyed when we suggest a lot are lazy, and feel that is all I am about, but the fact is most deaf ARE apathetic. I do NOT believe everyone wants to be passionately involved, if you are talking a day or night out with deaf freinds for a piss up then yes they are, but NOT on the street or lobbying for deaf advance, that’s hard work !

    I don’t see how ‘life’ gets in the way being deaf is the life for many ! They struggle to get voices heard, their representation such as it is, is online day and night begging them to get involved, they are still working alone. Apathetics of t4 deaf world should NOT be titled the silent majority or even the neutral majority who ‘live and let live’ no voice you do not exist it is as simple as that.

    Of course there is as with every grouping a small minority who cannot speak for themselves very well and lack confidence, but that is NOT The case here is it ? The issue seems to be they believe equality laws will save them having to do anything now, I worked to set up with others the British Disabilty and Anti-discrimination Law, I cna tell you, I was the ONLY deaf person in the UK there when it was officialy launched, and, got an apology from the British Deaf Association who made false claims they were there repersenting the deaf, they were not there.

    When I asked “Why aren’t the deaf here in force ?”, they replied “It’s ‘disability’ so nothing to do with us…” I did 12 years in the Brit ‘Care in the Community’ area where there was (alleged!), massive ‘client’ consultations, we were going to be listened to. For the most part I was still the only deaf person there. No more excuses for the deaf please.

    • My experience is very different from your MM .. I find with a little leadership that they do come out and help and lobby. perhaps its just a British thing. Who knows.

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