When voices are absent

Many of us, who care about the poor, the marginalised and the disadvantaged, disagree with the adage that ‘might is right’.

We disagree with it when we see aid dollars being funnelled into the bank accounts of the powerful. We disagree with it when we see people being trafficked by those who profit from such a heinous act. We disagree with it when we see communities oppressed by cartels through violence or intimidation.

Yet sometimes its harder to see in our own backyard.

Sadly, we often find that with power comes permission. A submission in the current federal inquiry into outdoor advertising has brought such a situation into focus for us.

In a submission by the Salvation Army, it said:

“… the amount of research showing the sexualisation of girls and women in advertising can lead to damaging effects such as eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression had reached ”alarming proportions” and that “the onus to prove outdoor ads would not promote negative outcomes for girls and women should be put back on advertisers, rather than, as in the current system, waiting for the public to make a complaint.”

”The self-regulatory system currently in place offers little protection for children’s rights whose voice may be absent, nor does it work to specifically monitor, analyse and act on issues impacting children.”

The integrity of the current self-regulation is a farce if it rests upon the idea that all members of the community have equal power.

Washing our hands of any moral responsibility, by waiting for those who are powerless to resist the powerful, is disingenuous at best.

It’s time to listen to the voices who are usually absent from the places of power and influence. Without their contribution, we will only be lead by might. And that’s just not right.