Australia: Finally, she can speak - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaFinally, she can speak

03:35  12 august  2019
03:35  12 august  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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The lovely born again actress and mother of one who claims to be a "radical for Jesus", has now explained why it's possible to type in tongues. She said if people can sing and type "Skrrr pa" when Big Shaq's "Man's Not Hot" comes on, then she can also type in tongues.

The lovely born again actress and mother of one who claims to be a "radical for Jesus", has now explained why it's possible to type in tongues. She said if people can sing and type "Skrrr pa" when Big Shaq's "Man's Not Hot" comes on, then she can also type in tongues.

Finally, she can speak© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation An archaic law has meant she cannot tell her story. (ABC News: Jack Fisher) Warning: This story contains content that may be distressing to some readers

Her abuser could speak out. And he did. Now, she can too.

Her story has been told many times by many people, including the maths teacher who groomed and molested her when she was just 15.

"Journalists, commentators and even my perpetrator have been able to publicly discuss my case, I'm the only one who was not allowed to."

Until now.

After two years battling the Tasmanian legal system, Grace Tame has finally won the right to reveal her true identity.

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Grace Tame was repeatedly raped by her 58-year-old teacher when she was in Year 10.

Her abuser, Nicolaas Bester has spoken publicly about the case many times, but Grace has been gagged by an archaic law which only exists in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The law prevents victims of sexual abuse from ever speaking about their experiences, even if they want to.

Grace was forced to obtain a special exemption from the Tasmanian Supreme Court to speak out, a costly and traumatic process.

She's now fighting to have the law changed.

And she wants the world to know the harrowing details of her case, to warn others about the sinister process of child grooming.

In 2010, Grace was a student at the exclusive St Michael's Collegiate School in Hobart.

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She was vulnerable. She had just been hospitalised for anorexia and her mother was about to have a baby. Bester seemed sympathetic.

Grace's mother, Penny Plaschke, said Bester's behaviour worried her.

"He put her on a pedestal. He was encouraging her to stay in his office after school … and he gave her a key to his office. He tried to visit Grace in hospital."

Grace's parents complained to the school and Bester was spoken to, but the grooming continued.

In mid-2010, Bester asked Grace to meet him at the school. He led her to a cupboard in the science block.

Grace had confided in Bester that when she was six, another child forced her into a cupboard and molested her.

Bester instructed Grace to go into the cupboard and undress.

"I was in a state of disbelief and sheer terror, and I thought I can't run anywhere. I'm trapped."

Grace came out of the cupboard in her underwear to find Bester standing naked in front of her.

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Tell her she can speak with Dr. Kovac when she gets in. Dile que puede hablar con el doctor Kovac cuando llegue. Thanks to her kindergarten experience and previous aupairs, she can speak English very very fluently. Gracias a su experiencia kindergarten y aupairs anteriores, se puede hablar Inglés

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"He had his arms outstretched and walked towards me and pulled me into his naked body and was just holding me," she said.

Over the next six months, Bester repeatedly raped Grace at the school, a hotel and a friend's house.

"It had gotten really painful because a lot of the time he was asking me to go in early before school and he would have his way with me and then I'd have to go and sit in the classroom," Grace said.

Penny said it was obvious her daughter was distressed but she didn't know why.

In April 2011, she received a devastating phone call from the school. Grace had told another teacher about the abuse.

When police arrested Bester, he was found with 28 images of child pornography on his computer.

He pleaded guilty to "maintaining a relationship with a young person" and possession of child exploitation material. His court hearing attracted lurid headlines. Some suggested Grace was complicit in the abuse.

"I couldn't believe that they'd put that on television and in the newspapers — that it was an affair," Grace's mother said.

"When a perpetrator is 58 and a victim is 15, that's not an affair, that's a clear imbalance of power and it's a clear case of sexual abuse.

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"I've seen the scars on my daughter's body from self-harming. That is not a relationship."

Bester was convicted and sentenced to 2 years and 10 months in jail. He was released on parole after serving 19 months.

'Men in Australia envy me'

Bester enrolled in a PhD at the University of Tasmania, where Grace's mother, Penny, was also studying.

"Once I was assured that he wasn't going to be crossing my path, I just tolerated it," Penny said.

That was until 2015, when Bester bragged about his crimes on Facebook.

"The majority of men in Australia envy me," he wrote. "I was 59, she was 15 going on 25. It was awesome".

He also made graphic comments about sexually assaulting Grace.

Bester was charged with making child exploitation material and jailed for another four months.

But even after his second stint in prison, Bester continued to paint himself as the victim.

In 2017, Bester did an interview with commentator and sex therapist Bettina Arndt.

"I lost everything, I lost my home, I'd been married for 37 years, I lost my marriage I lost my children, I lost my job, I lost my status in the community, I lost absolutely everything," he told Arndt in the YouTube video.

Infuriated by the interview, Grace decided it was time for her to speak out.

An archaic law

Grace contacted anti-sexual assault advocate and journalist, Nina Funnell for help.

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"It was only after we started looking into the possibility of Grace going public that we discovered this incredibly archaic law in Tasmania that prevents sexual assault survivors from being able to self-identify in the media," Funnell said.

Grace and Funnell started a campaign to change the law, known as #LetHerSpeak.

The campaign went global and attracted the support of celebrities and leaders of the #MeToo movement.

Funnell also started an online petition demanding that section 194K of the Evidence Act be scrapped, which has attracted almost 6,000 signatures.

At the same time, Grace was fighting her own private battle to speak publicly in the Supreme Court of Tasmania. After two years and a $10,000 legal bill, she was given special leave to tell her story.

She is the first woman in Tasmania to be granted the exemption.

'It's a mind manipulation'

While Grace has struggled to be heard in Tasmania, an elite police squad in the US has jumped at the chance to work with her.

The Los Angeles Human Trafficking Squad, a world leader in its field, is working with Grace to gain a better understanding of how child grooming works.

Grace said Bester groomed her by gradually undermining her relationship with her parents and her medical team.

"He used various tactics to groom me, and that included isolating me from all my family and my friends and making it so that he was the sole source of comfort and that I was dependent on him entirely emotionally," she said.

"He would say negative things about my family. Like, my mother was pregnant at the time and he would go on rants about pregnant women being unstable … and just planting ideas in my head".

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The lovely born again actress and mother of one who claims to be a “radical for Jesus”, has now explained why it’s possible to type in tongues. She said if people can sing and type “Skrrr pa” when Big Shaq’s “Man’s Not Hot” comes on, then she can also type in tongues.

If eyes could speak I wouldn't have to talk. Here we go again trying to pretend My hand is steady The way she looks tonight isn't helping Vision's getting blur Maybe I can finally get it right Finally get the nerve to speak my mind. And tell you the things I can't say And baby I would look into your eyes And

Head of the task force, Detective Ray Bercini said Grace's insights were invaluable to his officers.

"It's a mind manipulation, it's a way that these guys are able to control and manipulate victims who are just looking for someone to love them or give them some direction," he said.

"They don't want to disrespect them if they're older, and so a lot of the process that happens in the grooming, that's what draws that bond, and that bond becomes very, very difficult to break through.

"And if I can understand that, then I can have a little more patience and compassion in knowing that that's what's happening."

Tasmania working to change law

The Let Her Speak campaign has also caught the attention of the Tasmanian Attorney-General, Elise Archer.

Ms Archer told the ABC she was reviewing Section 194K.

"I agreed to issue a discussion paper, and we've received over 50 submissions in relation to various views about the operation of 194K," Ms Archer said.

"It's important that we strike the right balance in relation to this, because it may identify victims that shouldn't or don't want to be identified.

"In a smaller jurisdiction like Tasmania, and like the Northern Territory, it is important because people do tend to live in smaller communities and know each other, that we don't unintentionally release the identity of a victim just by reason of their known relationship to another victim."

"So a protection mechanism is important, but I fully accept that having to go to court for a court order is quite an onerous task and also could be costly, so that's why as Attorney-General I've been willing to look at this issue and I'm very open to reform once we've considered the submissions."

'I won't stop'

For Grace, it's been a slow road to recovery.

"It's taken me a while. The first five, six, seven years were really tough. I've abused drugs. I've self-harmed.

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"But what's gotten me through is the sense of family that I value and love. And exercise. Self care. Looking after myself and eating well. I do a lot of yoga teaching and I run.

"One step at a time. That's all you can do. Because some days I just want to fall in a heap".

She is also a talented artist and illustrator. One of her most notable works was an illustration commissioned by her friend, Camilla Cleese for her famous father, John Cleese.

Grace says she is determined to see the law scrapped in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

"I won't stop until the law is changed," she said.

"It's so important for people to own their own story, their own narrative and to take back control of who they are. And it's so important that survivors know that it's not their fault and to have the support of the community and the support of the law."

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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