ACTION ALERT: It’s Go Time! 9th June 2022!

 

#BeBrave Global Day of Action

 

On June 9, survivors, survivor networks and our allies are rallying together for the Brave Movement’s #BeBrave Global Day of Action. Together we’ll be putting pressure on G7 leaders, ahead of the G7 Summit on June 26-28 in Bavaria Germany. 

 

BREAKING NEWS: This week in Brussels, Belgium, for the first time in public, the German Government made a commitment to prioritize the fight to end childhood sexual violence during its G7 Presidency:

Excerpt of Statement by Markus Richter, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, Government of Germany: 

 

WeProtect Global Alliance Summit, 

Brussels, Belgium, 

June 2, 2022

 

“The fight against sexual abuse of children is not a fight for a single nation. It is (a fight) for the international level.  We need to work closely together to improve our systems, processes, and instruments to do so……The German Government is putting this topic on the top of the list of its Presidency of the G7 and therefore we will also work together on how we can improve, how we can develop more efficient networks and new instruments to fight against this situation we are facing……We will stand together against this.” 

 

 

Additionally, we officially confirmed that the draft G7 Communiqué includes a direct reference to stepping up again against child sexual violence on and offline.  Now we have less than 4 weeks to turn those positive words into the concrete detailed commitments that we have in our own brave proposed G7 communiqué language which we signed off yesterday.  

Action Opportunity:

Please share the updated and final version of our Brave G7 communiqué language with G7 Heads of State, Sherpas, and advisors and please request a meeting with them.  You can find some suggested language for emails/letters here.

Action Opportunity: G7 Petition:

Please push our G7 petition to end childhood sexual violence, now is your chance! It’s in English, Spanish, French, German, Hindi, Japanese and Italian.  Over 66,000 people have signed so add your signature and share widely with your networks!

 

JUNE 9 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION:

We invite you and your networks to join us on June 9 in making noise, asking G7 leaders to be brave and to listen to our demands. Around the world, survivor advocates will be putting up purple commemorative plaques to remember survivors of childhood sexual violence, holding rallies outside embassies and writing letters to ambassadors to ask them to be brave.

Get lots of tips and tools in this #BeBrave Global Day of Action Toolkit. In the toolkit, you’ll see draft language for the social media templates of the purple commemorative plaques.

I know we are asking a lot of you over the coming weeks, but we have a unique chance to have a serious global impact.  Much appreciation to everyone for all of the hard work underway.

Yours sincerely,

Paul

Dr. Paul Zeitz

Brave Movement

Follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter

  

 


 

End Violence Against Children #ENDviolence

June 14th 2022

8 am EST | 2 pm CET

 

Together End Violence

The End Violence Partnership is hosting the Together to #ENDviolence Leaders’ Event

The Together to #ENDviolence campaign was launched by the End Violence Partnership in December 2020 to raise awareness, share solutions, and catalyze action and investment to end violence against children.  The Leaders’ Event on 14th June 2022 will be the culmination of 18 months of events held and commitments made around the world. 

ONE BILLION CHILDREN.

That’s how many girls and boys suffer from violence every year.

Together to #ENDviolence, a global campaign and Solutions Summit Series, is here to change that. 

Violence is an epidemic of abuse that undermines all other investments made in children, with devastating long-term consequences. Despite the scale and impact of violence against children – and the proven evidence-based solutions that exist – we still lack the political commitments and financial investments that are urgently needed to keep children safe at home, online, at school and within communities. And without the proper investment, the effects of violence against children will continue to cost up to 5% of the world’s GDP.

On top of that, COVID-19 has increased children’s risk of violence in every country and community. As a result of the pandemic, 85 million more girls and boys may be exposed to physical, sexual and emotional violence. COVID-19 has also placed new pressures on both national budgets and international donors, jeopardising already-limited investments to end violence against children, along with years of progress. Without urgent, unified action, we could lose a generation of children to the lifelong effects of violence.

Together to #ENDviolence is inspiring the end violence community and catalysing the political and financial commitments needed to end violence against children for good. As we enter the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, this global campaign will accelerate action as the world builds back safer for children – during COVID-19 and beyond. 

Together, we are a powerful partnership of over 600 organisations. Together, we are a part of the solution. Will you join us?

We are bringing together the end violence community and other critical stakeholders to celebrate progress and catalyse political and financial commitments to end all forms of violence against children.

Join to hear from over 30 powerful diverse voices from across countries and expertise – UN leadership & CEOs, government ministers & royalty, children & survivors, influencers & celebrities – all united by a shared vision of a world without violence against children. Please also find attached a list of some of the confirmed speakers.

 

REGISTER at:
The Together to #ENDviolence Leaders’ Event on 14 June

 

Help to spread the word!

 


 

STATE OF GLOBAL CRISIS – TRIGGER WARNING

#BeBrave     #BraveMovement

 

Rosalia Rivera(She/Her) 

 

Consent Educator

 Abuse Prevention Specialist

Sexual Literacy Advocate

TEDx Speaker

Chair of SAGE (Survivor Advocates Globally Empowered)

Rape Culture Disruptor

founder of CONSENTparenting™

host of the AboutCONSENT™ podcast

creatrix of CONSENTwear™ and

CSA Survivor & Thriver

Canadian Centre for Child Protection®

Nelson, British Columbia, Canada

 

TRIGGER WARNING

We hope that you are able to watch the following 4 minutes so that you can share it,

spread awareness and take inspired action.

Please note, however, some of this content may be upsetting.

Please take care of your mental health above all.

To watch this video, please click on this link:  STATE OF GLOBAL CRISIS

I invite you, encourage you, ask you, and implore you to sign and share this G7 Petition with your networks and spread the word.

https://lnkd.in/gZUrj5JH

 

With Canada being a G7 member, it’s our responsibility to support this effort and put it on the G7 Agenda!!!

We need governments to put more funding and aide to programs of prevention, healing and justice!

 

Want to get more involved? Let’s connect.

LinkedIn – Rosalia Rivera

 


 

NAPCAN – National Child Protection Week 2022

4th-10th September

 

 

Welcome to the campaign for 2022

 

In 2022, National Child Protection Week will continue to embrace the overarching message that ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’.

In particular, this year we will be shining a light on children growing up safe and supported.

Children and young people thrive when they grow up safe, connected and supported in their family, community and culture.

They have the right to grow up in environments that support them according to their needs, now and into the future.

This year let’s talk about how we create a supportive environment for every child.

National Child Protection Week will be looking at what works to keep children safe and supported… what children are telling us… what families are telling us… what the evidence is telling us… and how to translate this knowledge into action.

We know that too many children are not growing up safe and supported and that Child Protection systems are overloaded. There are many opportunities to change the trajectory for these children.

We can stop child abuse and neglect – and reduce its impact – by working together to make sure every child in every community has a fair go.

 

 

For more information on how you can get involved, please click on the link below:

https://www.napcan.org.au/get-involved-2022/

 


 

Global Survivors Action Summit 27th April 2022!

 

 

Wednesday 27th April 2022

9:00am – 11:00am EST

2:00pm – 4:00pm BST

 

Survivors of childhood sexual violence and allies will come together from around the world to end of childhood sexual violence.

 

Joined by allies and decision makers the Brave Movement are convening the Global Survivors Action Summit on April 27, 2022.

 

The Summit will provide a platform for Survivors to speak to their experiences and to their demands for what is needed for prevention, healing and justice.

 

Allies and decision makers will make commitments towards the ending of childhood sexual violence. Action will be agreed and action will be demanded.

 

#BraveMovement    #GlobalChallenge    #SAGE    #OakFoundation #ChildrenOfPhoenixFoundation    #ProfessorCarolineTaylorAM #G7CallToAction    #Nov18WorldDay

 

Register today – Join us as we hear from survivors and allies on the key demands to help    #EndChildSexAbuse  #GlobalSurvivorsSummit

https://watch.bravemovement.org

⬇️

 

To read more, please click on this link:

Twitter – BeBraveGlobal

 


 

Launch of Brave Movement – 3rd March 2022!

 
 

GLOBAL SURVIVOR-CENTERED MOVEMENT LAUNCHES TO END  SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

 

The Brave Movement is led by fifteen adult survivors of childhood sexual violence and their allies, coming together from every continent to demand action and USD billions to scale prevention, healing and justice

Leaders of the Movement say: “Progress is slow: more urgent action is needed, now!”

 

London, 3 March 2021 – The Brave Movement launches today – a global advocacy movement led by fifteen adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and allied organizations that aims to end all forms of sexual violence against children and adolescents.

The Brave Movement is taking collective action and seeking to achieve bold and transformational laws, programs and policies at both the local, national and regional level, and in global institutions within the multilateral system. 

The Brave Movement is building an international advocacy movement of survivors and allies that will aim to mobilize billions for programs of prevention, healing and justice around the world; abolish Statutes of Limitation in every nation across the world; and develop a child-rights driven approach to online end-to-end encryption

As a first step, the Brave Movement has mobilized survivor advocates and allies in advance of the G7 Summit in Germany in June 2022 with a call for a G7 survivors council, domestic resource mobilization in G7 nations and a $1bn commitment to scale prevention, healing and justice in low- and middle-income countries through a transformed End Violence Fund. 

In addition, the movement has launched a Global Challenge to develop survivor-centered national calls to action leading up to a  Global Survivors Action Summit on 27 April 2022 to endorse a global call to action to end childhood sexual violence.

Catalyzed by Together for Girls with support from the Oak Foundation, The Movement launches at a pivotal moment as the Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) look to make progress towards an equitable world.

THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF THE CHALLENGE

    • From 2019 to 2020 there was a 100% increase in reports from the public of online sexual exploitation
    • 1 in 5 women report having been sexually abused as a child, one in ten girls under the age of 20 have experienced sexual violence and every year 12 million girls are married before their 18th birthday
    • 1 in 10 men report having been sexually abused as children
    • Based on data from over 20 countries, anywhere from 8% to 24% of boys experience some form of sexual violence before the age of 18
    • The global economic impacts and costs resulting from the consequences  of  physical, psychological and sexual violence against children and adolescents can be as high as $7 trillion

 

 

Dr Daniela Ligiero, survivor and a leader in the Brave Movement said: “Childhood sexual violence is a silent global scourge. Children are exposed to sexual violence in multiple forms: child sexual abuse, incest, child sexual exploitation, rape, child marriage, sexual violence in dating relationships, and sexual violence among peers. Child marriage affects millions of girls around the world, and sexual violence and abuse occurs in families, communities, schools, sports programs, places of worship, and online. Children and adolescents of every age, race, ethnicity, caste, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity are impacted. Progress is slow: more urgent action is needed, now!”

 

 

Dr Paul Zeitz, survivor and a leader in the Brave Movement explained why survivors and allies are crucial to the Movement: “Survivors of childhood sexual violence are pivotal to decision making for prevention, healing and justice, as our lived experience must inform all policy decisions. As survivor advocates and allies, we demand prevention to protect this and every generation to come; healing for survivors and their families; and justice for wrongdoers, the complicit, and the victimized. With the right resources, cohesive mobilization and political will, childhood sexual violence abuse can become a thing of the past.” 

 

 

Rosalia Rivera, survivor and leader in the Brave Movement said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed children everywhere to an even greater risk of violence while reducing their ability to access any support.  The Brave Movement will push for stronger political will, strengthen data and evidence, and better inform policy, strategy and investments across the world. We need to work with one another to shift attitudes, change behaviors, and influence corporations and governments.”

 

 

Tabitha Mpamira, survivor and leader in the Brave Movement said: Breaking the silence is on all of us and should not be a burden placed solely on survivors. As allies, advocates, practitioners, parents, friends, community members, faith leaders, policymakers, decision-makers and researchers, we must all act with urgency, and strengthen our movement to do more for children.”

 

 

Join the Brave Movement:

https://www.bravemovement.org/ 

@bebraveglobal 

The Brave Movement leadership includes SAGE: Survivor Advocates Globally Empowered and a Global Steering Group (GSG).

SAGE Members:

  • Brisa De Ángulo, Bolivia
  • Dr Daniela Ligiero, USA, Brazil
  • ElsaMarie D’Silva, India
  • Florence Keya, Kenya
  • Janet Aguti, Uganda
  • Dr Matthew McVarish, UK
  • Miguel Hurtado, Spain
  • Dr Paul Zeitz, USA
  • Robert Shilling, USA
  • Rosalia Rivera, El Salvador, Canada, SAGE Chair
  • Professor S Caroline Taylor, AM, Australia, SAGE Vice-Chair
  • Sarah Cooper, USA
  • Suresh Chhetry, Nepal
  • Tabitha Mpamira, Rwanda, Uganda, USA
  • Wibke Muller, Germany

 Global Steering Group (GSG) :

    • The Army of Survivors 
      • Julie Ann Rivers-Cochran, MSW 
    • End Violence Lab at the University of Edinburgh 
      • Dr Catherine Maternowska
    • Girls Not Brides 
      • Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell 
    • Together for Girls 
      • Daniela Ligiero, GSG Chair 
      • Sandie Taylor, GSG Vice-Chair for Finance and Administration 
    • WeProtect Global Alliance
      • Iain Drennan, GSG Principal Vice-Chair
    • World Vision Internationa
      • Bill Forbes 
  • Global Survivors Advocacy Group (SAGE) representatives to the GSG
 
    • Rosalia Rivera
    • Professor S Caroline Taylor
    • Brisa De Angulo, Esq.
    • Sarah Cooper
    • Florence Keya
 
  • Movement Action Team
 
    • Dr. Kathleen Cravero, GSG Community Manager
    • Dr. Paul Zeitz, Movement Executive Coordinator (interim) 

 

*NOTES TO EDITORS 

ABOUT THE BRAVE MOVEMENT 

The Brave Movement is a new powerful and global survivor-centered and all allies advocacy movement to end sexual violence against children. Supported by a $10M grant from the Oak Foundation to Together for Girls, this movement is gearing up to become a powerful global force for change. 

CONTACT THE BRAVE NEWSROOM 

If you are a journalist or media outlet seeking further information about the Brave Movement, please contact our Brave Newsroom: press@bravemovement.org 

Our Brave Newsroom supports the movement by disseminating survivor calls for action, recruiting advocates, and galvanizing supporters all over the world to end childhood sexual violence.  

 


 

THREE GLOBAL LEADERS OUTLINE THREATS TO CHILDREN’S ONLINE SAFETY

 

19th May 2020

 

ALL NATIONS CONFRONT AN ONLINE THREAT

TO CHILDREN

 

 

As the world congregates online to work, socialise and learn, new risks have emerged for children. These online safety risks have no national borders. In the light of this, Dr Howard Taylor, the Executive Director of End Violence, has joined forces with Julie Inman Grant, the Australian eSafety Commissioner, and Dr Joanna Rubinstein, the President & CEO of Childhood USA, to outline the threats and propose solutions.

As the COVID-19 crisis wears on, officials have told us that to prevent the spread of the virus, even those at low risk of health complications — such as our children — need dramatically to alter their lifestyles in the name of collective safety.

So far, COVID-19 has forced over 1.5 billion children across the world out of school. However, missing school, skipping team sports and activities, and steering clear of public transit will not protect our children from the dangers they face in the digital world. Passing more of their days online, children are being left even more vulnerable to a pandemic threat unrelated to COVID-19: sexual exploitation and abuse online.

As leaders of three organisations that focus on protecting children from violence and harm, we know first-hand the risks associated with children and young people spending more time online. We also know that with the expansion of networks, speed and new capabilities like cameras on almost every kind of digital devices, there has been an exponential increase in online abuse.

To read more, please click on this link: Three Global Leaders Outline Threats

Julie Inman Grant
Australia’s eSafety Commissioner

Dr Joanna Rubinstein
President & CEO of Childhood USA, Board Member of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, and a Commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development

Dr Howard Taylor 
Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

 

 


 

ACTION ALERT! #Nov18WorldDay 2021!

 

 

#Nov18WorldDay

#EndChildSexAbuseDay      #PreventionHealingJustice

 

Global Movement Calls for Establishing November 18, 2021 as the First Annual  “World Day of Action in Recognition of Prevention, Healing and Justice to End Sexual Violence Against Children & Adolescents”

 

Survivors and aspiring allies around the world

are building a global movement and mobilizing on

November 18, 2021 to launch the First Annual:

 

“World Day of Action in Recognition of Prevention,

Healing and Justice to End Sexual Violence Against

Children & Adolescents.” 

 

The intentions of this global mobilization are to:

  • Acknowledge the magnitude of the global crisis of sexual violence against children and adolescents;
  • Call for systemic change in communities, countries, and globally to address this global crisis;
  • Call for long-term, sustained funding for organizations focused on “prevention, healing, and justice” to ensure programs reach all children everywhere; 
  • Unite organizations and advocates across disciplines, promote partnerships and share resources for effective “prevention, healing, and justice” policies and full scale programs that reach and safeguard all children everywhere; 
  • Ensure that survivor voices and experiences are heard, acknowledged, honored and included in governing and decision-making bodies. 
 

Quote from Professor S. Caroline Taylor AM as part of the

Global Action Alliance, New York, USA:

“Globally, the sexual abuse of children remains an urgent and unremitting wicked issue.  A global day of recognition and action will provide a platform for survivors to speak out for change, justice, hope and healing; and to empower victims to disclose and obtain help. In Australia, intrafamilial rape, which is the sexual abuse of children in the family by a relative or step-relative, continues to be silenced by stigma, ignorance and lack of committed action, despite the fact that intrafamilial sexual abuse is the most prevalent and repetitive form of child sexual abuse.  Survivor advocates are leading the charge for a day of global action and we will not stop until it is achieved. I am so proud of my fellow survivor peers from around the world who are working together to make history for November 18 to be a global day of action regarding child sexual abuse.”

3AW – Melbourne’s favourite news and talk station – 3AW

Professor S. Caroline Taylor AM has recorded an interview with 3AW and this will be run over the 17th and 18th November!

 

So far, stakeholders in over 50 countries, including the 47 countries of the European Council, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, India, Kenya, Nepal, USA, and many other countries, cities, and communities are joining forces to kick-off a global mobilization in support of the #Nov18WorldDay.

#Nov18WorldDay Action Update, as of 13 October 2021

 

To read this Pdf, click here: 18 November

For more information about: Global Movement to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents

 

“By creating a clear, indisputable, public record of the atrocities that African Americans and people of color experienced on a constant, daily basis, we were able to build a movement that transformed the face of our nation.”  

Rep. John Lewis, original co-sponsor of H.Con.Res. 100

 


Jeanie Dean

                                     
 

 

Jeanie Dean(She/Her)

Specialist in Child Safety, Governance, Abuse Risk, Safety and Compliance
 
We have come so far and we have so far left to travel in the fight to combat crimes against children and young people.

It’s important to remember that we can not do this in isolation. Jon Rouse APM recently said “it takes a network to stop a network”

Prof S. Caroline Taylor AM PhD has dedicated her life to the safety of children, young and vulnerable people and I and my team at FamSAFE are proud and delighted to say we walk beside her and every survivor in support of a Global Movement to call for Establishing November 18, 2021 as the First Annual “World Day of Action in Recognition of Prevention, Healing and Justice to End Sexual Violence Against Children & Adolescents”

#societyandculture#safety#network#childprotection#endsexualviolence

#wecandomore#togetherwearestronger#safeguarding
 
To read more of Jeanie’s LinkedIn profile, click here:  Jeanie Dean
To read more about FamSafe, click here:  FamSafe

 

NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION WEEK 2021

5-11 September 2021

To treat all of Australia’s children fairly, we need to make sure every family and community

has what kids need to thrive and be healthy.

Find out more about the theme.

Minister Map

The Honourable David Hurley, Governor-General,

Officially launches NCPW#21

The Hon Michelle Landry MP Federal Assistant Minister

for Children and Families #NCPW2021

 

Get Involved 2021

 


 

Media Release 24/08/2021- ABS – Child Sexual Abuse Raises Future Risk of Sexual Assault

 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released new analysis of Personal Safety Survey (PSS) and Recorded Crime – Victims data, shedding further light on the experiences of victim/survivors of sexual violence in Australia.

 

The new analysis of 2016 PSS data found persons who

had experienced childhood sexual abuse were at an increased risk

of experiencing sexual assault later in life.

 

ABS Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, Will Milne, said “Women who experienced childhood sexual abuse were three times more likely to experience sexual assault later in life, compared with women who had not been sexually abused as children (43 per cent compared with 13 per cent). For men, the risk was five times greater (18 per cent compared with 3.4 per cent).’’

Around 2.2 million women (23 per cent) and 718,000 men (8 per cent) aged 18 years and over have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, including childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault since the age of 15.

Analysis of Recorded Crime – Victims data revealed that police agencies recorded 144,797
victims of sexual assault between 2014 and 2019. Most victims (83 per cent) were female, and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) were under the age of 18.

Less than half of recorded sexual assault victims reported the incident to police within a week of the incident occurring.

To read more, click here: ABS Child Sexual Abuse Raises Future Risk of Sexual Assault – Australian Bureau of Statistics

 


 

Bequeathed Estate

 

The Chair and Board Members of Children of Phoenix are delighted to announce that our unique, registered charity recently received a bequeath estate.
This incredibly generous gift from a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous, will enable life changing educational opportunities and achievements for many years to come.
Upon being contacted and advised of the bequeathed estate, Professor Caroline Taylor AM, founder and Chair of CoP expressed enormous gratitude saying “on behalf of my Board I am proud of the recognition and trust in our charity and the unique and life changing work it does. This amazing donation will contribute profoundly to our work and we cannot begin to express our deepest thanks to the benefactor.”

 


 

I will not have my voice taken from me

 

The urgent need to repeal an unjust law

Recent changes to Victoria’s Judicial Reporting make it illegal for victim/survivor of sexual abuse to identify themselves.

Our Founder and Chair Professor S Caroline Taylor AM is a respected international advocate for all those affected by sexual violence.

Below is a copy of her recent article posted on LinkedIn, calling for this unjust legislation to be repealed, whilst maintaining her right, and that of others, to speak publicly.

 


 

I am writing this post knowing that in doing so I am breaking the law and potentially facing charges and possible imprisonment. But I hope you will read this post as it comes from me the adult, Professor Caroline Taylor AM, but is driven from the wounded, still healing child that lives within.

Many of my LinkedIn colleagues and followers likely know that I am a woman who experienced horrendous, long-term childhood sexual, physical and psychological abuse at the hands of my father. My disclosure led to my pets being murdered and my entire family disowning me. Overnight I was a social orphan and made homeless. This ensued a history of very little access to education, no family supports, homelessness and deep trauma, I had a determination to live and to rebuild, although I did not know at that time how I could, or would do this.

Police would eventually charge my father with more than 100 offences. I endured a traumatic legal trial. He was convicted and imprisoned. I set about rebuilding a life and my desire for learning took me to university where I excelled to complete a PhD on a full scholarship. That PhD went on to receive a national award. I devoted my learning to the area of child abuse. It was difficult but I knew too much to walk away. Through all this I kept my private trauma private.

I began to advocate for children and adult victim/survivors of childhood sexual abuse and for legal reform. Still I did not reveal my background publicly. I did this work because I did not want other childhood victims to endure what I did. I was advocating at a time when such advocacy was not popular.

In 2004 the publisher of my second book asked if I would openly write about my experience of sexual abuse in the forward of the book. I was very reluctant because I was aware of the stigma surrounding sexual abuse in the family and was also intensely private about my experience. I also knew that to write about it, however briefly, would likely cost me more than any potential benefit. My publishers were good people and they believed that because of my professional profile and commitment, identifying myself would help so many others. And so I did reveal something of my own experience and journey in the introduction of that book. And it did help so many others and an independent government study verified that in its findings.

Revealing my identity and my experience was difficult at the time. There was no public advocate identifying their experiences of intrafamilial sexual abuse with a burgeoning professional profile agitating in this field as I was. For a time I experienced the stigma and stereotyping often attached to such victims. I have experienced discrimination and cheap shots aimed to cut me down by those who were now armed with such information about my early life. Speaking out, especially about this kind of abuse, is a brave thing to do and I had no peer at this time and often felt very alone as I endured both bricks and bouquets. Speaking publicly for me was not cathartic. After all, media have little interest in this kind of abuse and it remains still a taboo area of child abuse across every spectrum of society and government. It was an immensely hard thing to do and I did so more out of a feeling of duty to protect and support victim/survivors and drive evidence-based change and reform. However finding my voice was empowering and I do not regret that first step in identifying myself publicly.

It was finding my voice that gave me the courage to established my long held wish for a unique charity ‘Children of Phoenix’ that helps those affected by childhood sexual abuse to achieve their educational goals. It was in finding my voice that others spoke to me and in turn stepped into the light of their voice and revelled that the shadows of offender-enforced silence no longer held them hostage.

I advocate for every survivor and know that the hard-won privilege of obtaining a platform from which to speak entails a moral responsibility to ensure that platform advances everyone. I am driven by a determination to ensure a better criminal justice system and public education to enable victim/survivors to face a more just and respectful world.

Why am I writing such a personal post? On February 7 2020 the Victorian Government in Australia amended the Judicial Proceedings Act 1958 (Vic) which now makes it an offence for a person who has ever been sexually victimised to identify themselves publicly. The changes are retrospective. As such, it is a chargeable offence for me to ever speak or write publicly of my sexual abuse for which the offender was convicted and went to gaol.

I found my voice as a victim to speak out all those years ago when I told police. I found my voice years ago when I spoke publicly and then each time I speak as an advocate with the valid authority of lived experience. And I applaud the courage of so many other victim/survivor advocates who claim their right to speak and to advocate.

In professional settings I have touched on my personal background to sit alongside my awarded research and awarded peer-reviewed publications. Research, praxis and the valid authority of lived experience are capable of being a potent mix for education, awareness and reform. This is one example of the power of speaking to experiences that must be heard and understood.

This new legislation reflects the selfsame power of an offender – the threat that to speak and to identify oneself as a ‘victim’ of sexual abuse will be met with harsh punitive measures. It represents symbolically the same type of threats used against millions of children by offenders. Speak and you will be punished. Enforced silence slowly kills the wounded heart and reinforces the stigma that our identity of being sexually victimised makes us dirty and something to be ashamed of…….it is the othering of ourselves as an object that must not ever be heard.

To speak one’s truth and to speak of one’s experience is a most basic human right of dignity and self-integrity. I defame no-one when I speak about what a convicted offender did to me. As I went through my legal trial which was acknowledged at state and federal level at the time for its ferocity and length, I spoke my truth without attachment to the outcome. And when I reluctantly revealed my identity it was in the hope to benefit others. But I realise too that when we speak our truth we hold up a lantern that not only lights the path for others, it lights it for us too; and thus greater levels of healing can occur.

Speaking is a radical act to shatter silences that must be broken. I will not have my voice and my experience appropriated to create a political or social or legal vacuum.

My voice and words shall not be extinguished or muted. I shall not remove details of my story that exist on my charity website nor be made to feel ashamed for having claimed my right to publicly speak all those years ago and to do so as part of my ongoing advocacy. I realise that I am now breaking the law simply by reaffirming that I am a woman who has experienced sexual abuse that deeply excoriated and traumatised my being and sense of identity. I have journeyed to help my heart and soul find peace and have been helped by many good people.

I will not be silenced and I will not allow an unjust law to silence others. I will not live in silence or in fear of an unjust law. I shall continue to speak because it is a necessary rebuke to an unjust law that must be repealed immediately. And I say all of this in the realisation that this post leaves me open now to be charged and to face court where the penalty is a fine and/or imprisonment.

I ask all of you who read this – please let me speak and demand this unjust law be corrected by being abolished. It is only by the voices of survivors that we have come this far in advancing the endemic and wicked issue of childhood sexual abuse and other crimes of sexual violence.