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Brenda Lin was on a school trip when her whole family was murdered. She found out about it online.

This story discusses sexual abuse.

In July 2009, Brenda Lin was 15 years old and on the school excursion of a lifetime in New Caledonia. 

"I remember my dad gave me his phone and said, 'Make sure you give me a call when you get there' but me being a teenager I didn't. I was too cool," she told The Daily Telegraph in a new interview. "We had limited access to the internet but one night we had a bit of spare time at our homestay and jumped on the computer.

"A friend from school noticed my friend had logged onto Facebook and sent her a link to a news article. They had no words, so they sent the article," she said. "When she clicked on the link... I could see a photo of my house. I didn't know how to process what followed. I was 15."

Watch Brenda Lin speak about the murders of her family on Sunday Night in 2017. Post continues below. 

Video via Seven.

It would later transpire that someone had broken into her home in North Epping, a suburb in Sydney's north-west, and bludgeoned to death her entire family: father, Min Lin, 45, her mother Lily, 43, her little brothers Henry, 12, and Terry, nine, and Lily's 39-year-old sister Irene.

After the murders, Brenda was sent to live with her uncle, Robert Xie, and aunt, Kathy. 


It would be two years before Brenda would learn it was this very uncle who was responsible for the murders of her family. Not only that, but in the run up to this revelation, Robert Xie had begun sexually abusing Brenda. 

Min Lin, Lily Lin and son Henry Lin. Image:

In 2017, her uncle was convicted and sentenced to five consecutive life terms. 

Prosecutors said he had been jealous of the Lin family - and had wanted Brenda to come and live with him.


Seven years on Brenda says she refuses to let his horrific actions consume her.

"He doesn't occupy my thoughts very much to tell you the truth. He is in prison for life, that's enough for me," she said to The Daily Telegraph.

"I know there is nothing more we can do. If someone asked me what more I would want done, I don't know what the answer would be."

The public funeral held for the Lin family in August 2009. Image: Getty.


Now aged 30, Brenda is undertaking a doctorate in criminology, rehabilitation in youth justice, at Sydney University. 

In 2021, she and four other sexual assault survivors started the not-for-profit organisation The Survivor Hub. There are currently 12 locations across NSW and Victoria where fellow survivors can meet. 

"The wonderful support network around me makes sure I am never alone for Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day, all those special events," she said. "Without that incredible support system, I do wonder where I would have ended up and that really scares me."

Despite the incredible work she's done to support and help others, Brenda says she doesn't consider herself "special". 

"I don't think I am anything special, when anyone is put in a situation you just learn to survive," she said. "Human nature shows how strong we are in times of need. A lot of people in society who have achieved things did so under difficult situations."

Feature Image: Nine.

If this brings up any issues for you, contact Bravehearts, an organisation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse, on 1800 272 831.

For help and support for those with complex trauma, the Blue Knot Foundation is there to help. Blue Knot Helpline and Redress Support Service provides specialist trauma counselling to adult survivors of childhood trauma including child sexual abuse.