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ABC Interview

A national NEWS broadcast
ABC journalism investigation

3rd June 2021

Part of an investigation into a modern truth
of stolen generations.

Visit the report at ABC News
Click below…

By ABC News Journalist:
Nakari Thorpe

Full article as reported by ABC news

For decades,
Lois Johnson lived in fear.

She struggled to have an intimate relationship, battled mental health issues and wasn’t capable of holding down a full-time job.
But now, the 62-year-old Widjabul/Wyabul woman from the Bundjalung Nation, finally feels safe to come forward with her story.
“When I turned 50, I decided to come out with what happened to me … because I want righteousness. I want people to know that this did happen,” she said.
Lois said she was forced to endure repeated sexual abuse as a young child until she was a teenager, by multiple perpetrators.
“I had to tell someone because I used to shower four times a day, I used to scrub my skin and scratch my face and draw blood sometimes.
“I have a lot of flashbacks and the flashbacks are really bad.”
The abuse allegedly occurred on a reserve where Lois lived with her large, extended family in northern New South Wales.
The reserve was controlled by the state government’s Aborigines Welfare Board, previously known as the Aborigines Protection Board.
Between 1963 and 1969, the Board had the legislative and requisite powers to inspect reserves — and among a host of other powers — provide for the care and custody of Aboriginal children.
But Lois said they turned a blind eye to the abuse she suffered.
Now, together with her lawyers, Lois is seeking recourse against the state of New South Wales for a civil claim.
“I believe the government failed us big time,” she said.
“They might have given us government rations. They might have given us their government blankets, but they never protected us. I hold the government accountable for what happened to me.”
Lois’s case is believed to the first of its kind in New South Wales because she wasn’t a ward of the state, but it also means she isn’t eligible for the national redress scheme – a response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
She witnessed family members being stripped from their mothers under past government policies which led to the Stolen Generations.
“So we never said nothing to the welfare because we didn’t trust the welfare, “she said.
“We were scared the welfare would take us away from our mum because I saw my cousins being taken and screaming in the back of a car.”
Lois’s mother didn’t know about the abuse but expressed concern about remaining on the reserve in a letter she wrote to the Aborigines Welfare Board.
In the handwritten letter, she wrote of people breaking into her home, saying she was “fed up with everything” and requested a new home be built for her and her children.
The trauma from Lois’s abuse was so profound she’s attempted suicide on several occasions, has trouble sleeping and receives counselling on a regular basis.
Lois’s mother was unware of the abuse, but in a letter to the Aborigines Welfare Board spoke of “being fed up with everything”.(Supplied)
Special counsel Danielle De Paoli from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, who is acting on behalf of Lois, said the State of New South Wales was liable.
“We’re seeking compensation for her loss of income and for treatment expenses for the future, because as Lois will say, it doesn’t go away, it’s still there,” she said.
“They knew or at least they ought to have known what was happening on the reserve. They were certainly on notice when Lois’s mum had written to the department.
“And yet nothing was done. So you have a mother who’s reaching out and crying for help, and totally ignored, trying to take care of her children.”
Special counsel Danielle De Paoli says the government knew or at least they ought to have known what was happening on the reserve.
The Aborigines Welfare Board held its last meeting in April 1969. It was replaced by the Aborigines Welfare Directorate within the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare.
Today, the responsibility falls with the Department of Communities and Justice.
A spokesperson from the Department said it “cannot comment on individual child protection matters for privacy reasons.”
“As this matter is the subject of legal proceedings, there will be no further comment,” the spokesperson said.
Lois said her husband Gordon Johnson helped her through some of her toughest times.
Together they help other abuse survivors through their charity organisation, Arising Indigenous Community Development Aid.
Much of the funds are self-donated by the couple.
“We feed them, we look after them. We advocate on their behalf. We help them with their housing, domestic violence, abuse,” Lois said.
She said she’ll continue fighting for justice and for others who hope to come forward like she did.
“I’ll fight this to the day I die and I’ll continue to help whoever is out there that needs our help … I’m not gonna give up.”

(ABC News: Nakari Thorpe)

Gordon & Lois together help
with utmost dedication other
abuse survivors through
their charity organisation; Arising Aid Inc.
Lois has fierce determination to see others
not be faced with the same challenges
& trauma she suffered.
Lois & her partner Gordon are
resolute in building strong
support for the most disadvantaged.

Finances for Arising Community Development Aid Incorporated have solely relied upon the personal finances of Lois & Gordon.
Arising Aid is seeking the goodwill of donations as the ongoing personal financing is leaving the dedicated partnership financially
restricted due to their dedication &
the growth of displaced.
Arising Aid sees the magnitude of
disadvantaged & destitute first-hand.
This cannot continue.
Victims, living in isolation & neglect from a system that is denying the growth of what a resolute healthy community can be.

AS OUR MOTTO STATES;
“Healing the nation, one community at a time” This is what we are working so hard for.

If you or anyone you know
needs help then please reach out
to Arising Aid. Alternatively, consider;

Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
Headspace on 1800 650 890

ABC 1st Interview

A national broadcast ABC journalism investigation

10th May 2021

Part of an investigation into a modern truth
of stolen generations.

On the 10th of May,
an ABC Interview at
Brunswick Heads river
took place.

It is one of the first interviews with Lois Johnson Nee Roberts into the abuse suffered on reserves by Australian indigenous incarceration into a system that pulled family’s apart & left a historical trail of trauma & abuse that never should have taken place but did & still has truths to this day to date in the current growing community generations.

A timeline of suffering that has followed through into the generations still suffering today from a past that has not received the accountability for actions taken by authorities in a position of obligations in life & future choices for indigenous generations now old & young that in-turn has suffered & are still suffering from their first-hand futures in the hands of government authorities that abruptly pulled generations at a young age from what was perceived as “communities with problems” but what was not perceived or recognised was the fact these young children also had supportive & helping members & family within these communities. Cousins, brothers, sisters, daughters & sons, relatives were torn from family only to leave another feeling of loss. A supportive & loved network was diminished to a result of heartache & destitution, where victims who had already suffered found themselves deeper in the depths of loss… The separated families members were seen & not heard, they had no voice, life choices were not the building blocks of a life lived.

This is some of the truth of those that have suffered & those that know the facts of what is & has taken place.

It would have been on reflection a wiser choice to investigate & act upon in-depth on the issues tearing at the healthy structure of these communities & to remove, deal with, & fund the building of a healthy community, rather than to carry on a brutal objective of internally tearing families further apart, removing new generations from communities & in-turn just carrying on with what can only be recognised as more stolen generations.

The publicised tale was the stolen generation was an event of the past & not a current issue to yet still remains a truth of our modern times.

Lois has made her suffering publicised as part of the following legal investigation into a modern truth of stolen generations.

It is hoped others who have suffered in the same manner would be fourth coming & participate in the ABC investigation along with Lois but it is perceived for some of the victims a reality of past trauma is too traumatic to relive when your human psyche has been buried the confronting past & moved forward to an established safe place.

Some stories remain silenced.

Lois’s position is speaking out on the past to highlight matter of fact truths & call for accountability & to progress beyond a modern harsh reality still taking place today.

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