chapter  5
Traditional punishment in the new punitiveness
Pages 26

The counterpart to the prevailing legal narrative on the ‘traditional’ sexual offender is the ‘barbaric’ violent offender. Indigenous culture is portrayed as violent and vengeful, especially in terms of the infl iction of punishment. In the popular and legal parlance, punishment dispensed on the Indigenous offender by his or her community is labelled ‘payback’ to denote retribution – an eye for an eye. However, this term misapprehends the nature of Indigenous punishment, which does not replicate the offence or merely seek retribution, but endeavours to restore community relations, denounce the crime and uphold the local Indigenous law (Loy 2010). The most common forms of Indigenous punishment comprise public shaming, exile from the community, compensation or restitution, community work, public denunciation and public apology. However, it can also include corporal punishment such as spearing and clubbing where the offence is serious, including for murder, sexual assault and interferences with ceremonies or land custodianship (see Gaykamangu 2012: 247; Gaymarani 2011: 298-9; Loy 2010). Indigenous punishment is dispensed after meetings between the families of the offender and victim reach a collective resolution.