Hear me now. Using my voice amongst a growing chorus of voices that will not be silenced.
I wonder if Grace Tame knew the magnitude of these words when she spoke them this time last year during her Australian of the Year acceptance speech. I wonder if she knew how these words would change lives.
How they would save lives.
Watch: Grace Tame at the National Press Club. Post continues below.
Grace was the recipient of the 2021 Australian of the Year Award for her advocacy of childhood sexual abuse victims; specifically for her work alongside Nina Funnell and sixteen other survivors to create the #LetHerSpeak campaign, which sought to repeal unjust gag laws and resulted in four law changes across three jurisdictions.
Through this, Grace gained the right to publicly self-identify as a rape survivor.
She gained the right to publicly tell her story. And after years of being forced to exist in silence, Grace gained the right to use her voice — not only reclaiming her own power but overturning the powerlessness of all survivors in Australia.
Grace's speech that night encompassed the characteristics we would come to witness more throughout her tenure — courage, bravery, forthrightness, tenacity; vulnerability.
She spoke about what society has historically deemed unspeakable. Words that were undoubtedly uncomfortable — if not confronting — for many.
Yet she spoke them with the conviction and determination of a woman who the system had failed, but who would no longer be held back from demanding law reform in our society to prevent other survivors from having to experience the same trauma which had been inflicted upon her as a victim of childhood sexual abuse.