Pubdate: Tue, 13 Oct 1998
Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Contact:  16
Author: KYM DAVEY, Executive Officer, Youth Affairs Council of SA, Adelaide


THE editorial on the Jewell family situation (The Advertiser, 3/10/98) is
quite remarkable for its extremist sentiments and inflammatory tone.  While
the story had all the elements of a good soap opera - kidnapping,
drug-taking, the seediness of Kings Cross and, of course, a father's spurned
love - nowhere is there a shred of information on why this Sydney story is
of such great moment to the citizens of SA. Is this really "a paradigm for
the hard-drug agony which torments thousands of Australian families"?

And then there are the facts of the matter. Mr Jewell, it seems, is
extremely lucky to have had charges of kidnap and assault dropped after, he
abducted his 19-year-old Saughter and subjected her to a forced
detoxification program, while holding her captive for some 10 days.

According to the editorial, these were but "kindly restraints", which caused
her to "spit at this parental help". What nonsense. Is The Advertiser
seriously implying that such flagrant breaches of the law should be
applauded rather than punished, or at least discouraged?

What is the logic behind the sentiment that the father is a blameless
Samaritan while his daughter is nothing more than an "uncaring fool"? Do we
really know enough about the obviously complex family history involved here
to make such thunderous judgments about the character and motivations of an
apparently troubled young woman?

The very best thing one can say about the actions of the "caring" father is
that they were terribly misguided and achieved nothing in terms of his
relationship with his daughter. Indeed, one is tempted to think that his
actions are part of the problem, not the solution to this unfortunate

If The Advertiser's motivation with this story has been to inform debate
about drug abuse, I think it has failed. Instead the treatment of the issues
involved served only to stigmatise young people and obscure understanding of
the complexities of human relationships.

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Checked-by: Don Beck