Grace Tame: 'My Mission to End Abuse' - Hope 103.2

Grace Tame: ‘My Mission to End Abuse’

The Australian of the Year reveals her plan to bring an end to child sexual abuse and stamp out the culture of “cover-up”.

By Mike CrooksThursday 4 Mar 2021NewsReading Time: 2 minutes

Warning: This article contains information about child sexual assault.

In light of the recent rape allegations that have dominated the Australian political landscape, it was a timely speech.

On Wednesday, Australian Of the Year Grace Tame addressed the National Press Club in Canberra, outlining her mission to end child sexual abuse.

“One voice, your voice, and our collective voices can make a difference,” Ms Tame said in what many called a powerful and inspirational speech.

“We are on the precipice of a revolution whose call to action needs to be heard loud and clear.”

In the speech, Ms Tame, 26, addressed how difficult it had been to speak about her own harrowing experience.

“One of the toughest challenges on my road to recovery was trying to speak about something we were taught is unspeakable,” she said.

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From age 15, Ms Tame was groomed and raped by her 58-year-old maths teacher Nicolaas Bester in an exclusive Hobart high school. Bester served 18 months’ prison for his crimes.

Under Tasmania’s sexual-assault victim gag laws, Ms Tame could not legally speak out about her experience, yet her attacker was free to do so. In an online interview, Bester described his criminal actions as “awesome”.

“Number one, how we invite, listen, and accept the conversation and lived experience of child sexual abuse survivors,” she said.

Through the #LetHerSpeak campaign, driven by journalist and advocate Nina Funnell, Ms Tame pushed for law reform and the right to tell her story.

Her crusade saw her receive the 2021 Australian of the Year.

Now, she’s working to help stamp out abuse. In her National Press Club speech she revealed three ways to achieve that goal.

“Number one, how we invite, listen, and accept the conversation and lived experience of child sexual abuse survivors,” she said.

“Number two, what we do to expand our understanding of this heinous crime, in particular, the grooming process, through both formal and informal education.

“Number three, how we provide a consistent national framework that supports survivors and their loved ones, not just in their recovery, but also to disempower and deter predators from action.”

During the question session with journalists, Ms Tame said she was not surprised of the recent allegations of historical rapes currently dominating Australian politics.

“Cover-up culture, the abuse of power, is not unique to Parliament,” she said. “It’s not necessarily individual cases, it’s the issue itself that is going to inspire me to do this work. I was doing this work before it dominated the national stage.”

And when asked if anything in the current climate is giving her hope, she replied: “Yes. People coming forward. People finding the courage to speak out.”

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