This was on the front page of the Dom Post today:
I wanted to talk a bit about the concept of being a nark. Many people with privilege cannot understand why on earth a person would not call the cops on someone who was bashing you regularly. They cannot understand why calling the cops would be a betrayal of community. The original post refers specifically to gang culture, but it is a known phenomenon that crimes that occur within marginalised groups are covered up and not reported to authorities. There is a sense of “we will sort things out in our own way.”
That is frequently because members of marginalised groups genuinely cannot trust the systems and institutions of authority that are created and maintained by those with privilege. All you have to do is look at the differing conviction statistics for Maori and Pakeha in NZ or Black and White Americans in America to get a sense that something is not operating justly.
This fundamental distrust, the idea that these systems are not just for people like us means that to report a a intra-community crime is a fundamental betrayal. You are participating in a system that openly and visibly harms your community. You are a nark.
This is how Kyriarchy works. These big inequalities mean that the most vulnerable people inside groups cannot be helped, because taking help from the outside means losing everything they have on the inside. Betraying the community often means losing the community, frequently the only support network that you will ever have, the only thing that has looked after you when the wider world has treated you with scorn and disdain.
If we want to end violence agains women in marginalised communities then one of many things that must be done is to begin to repair the woeful injustices that occur in the justice system. The world does not exist as discrete issues. Everything is interconnected.
It is also important to say that the distrust in the system is warranted, we live in a profoundly racist society and systems of power treat people differently. It is an ugly truth, one many people do not want to hear or refuse to believe. It is a myth that everyone is treated equally before the law.