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Australia Let her Speak campaigner Grace Tame named Tasmanian Australian of the Year

12:05  30 october  2020
12:05  30 october  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Grace Tame is finally able to talk about the abuse she suffered in a Hobart private school. Seven years later, Grace had decided she wanted to tell her story in full. The problem, we soon discovered, was that even though Grace 's offender had been found guilty and sentenced to two years and six

Grace Tame and journalist Nina Funnell started the #LetHerSpeak campaign aimed at overturning gag clauses in Tasmania and Northern Territory law. Grace Tame , who was repeatedly sexually abused by her teacher, has won a supreme court exemption in Tasmania to tell her side of the story.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Tasmanian Australian of the Year Grace Tame says she shares the award with all survivors of sexual abuse. (ABC News: Luke Bowden) © Provided by ABC NEWS Tasmanian Australian of the Year Grace Tame says she shares the award with all survivors of sexual abuse. (ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Grace Tame is a name recognised across Tasmania, but that was not always the case.

Until last year, she was barred from speaking out and identifying herself as a survivor of sexual assault.

Ms Tame, now 25, was abused by her high school maths teacher Nicholas Bester 10 years ago.

Bester was convicted and sentenced to two years and 10 months and was released on parole after serving 19 months.

He was free to tell his story, but when she was finally ready to set the record straight, she discovered that she was gagged by Tasmania's laws.

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Grace Tame was groomed and abused by her maths teacher when she was 15. For the first time, she can finally share her story.

Grace Tame has been fighting for her right to speak about sexual abuse. The 24- year -old is full of appreciation and pride that the Let Her Speak campaign , which she became the face of, has resulted in the Tasmanian Government announcing plans to change legislation to give victims of sexual

Alongside journalist and anti-sexual assault advocate Nina Funnell, she created the #Letherspeakcampaign to change the law.

During that time, she fought her way through the Supreme Court and became the first woman in the state to be able to self-identify as a rape survivor.

She became the face of the campaign, and earlier this year the Tasmanian Government amended the law preventing survivors from speaking out.

Ms Tame has been named 2021 Tasmanian Australian of the Year.

In an emotional speech, she said the timing of the award was "so powerfully symbolic".

"This is the 10-year anniversary for me," she said.

"Ten years ago most of what I remember was lying on the floor on my back wishing that I wasn't here, feeling very alone.

"And now here I am. Standing alongside of you guys and that is so beautiful. We're all in this together. Thank you."

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The outdated Tasmanian law that stopped Grace Tame from sharing her horrific sex abuse story with the world Tasmania 's famous sexual assault victim can finally be named . Nina Funnell explains the story In August, and with the help of the # Let Her Speak campaign , Grace Tame became the first

Australian of the Year TASDr Madeline Green TASDr George Razay TASJoe & Fiona Riewoldt TASGrace Tame . Since its inception in 1960, the Australian of the Year Awards has provided a focal point for Australia Day celebrations and a forum for the recognition of outstanding achievement.

Ms Tame said the award was an "important symbol" for sexual assault survivors.

"I don't know. I could be wrong but I don't think that a survivor of rape has ever been awarded in such a way and that's huge," she said.

"It's hugely empowering for that community recognising and normalising the act of speaking out.

"There's no shame in surviving. The shame sits at the feet of predators, of perpetrators of these crimes."

Her award 'for all survivors'

Ms Tame said sexual violence still was not yet properly understood.

"The physical component for instance is only a very small component of a much larger multi-dimensional trauma that extends far beyond the individual who's targeted," she said.

"It affects us as a community, it affects families. It's so important that lived experience survivors have an opportunity to share their stories.

"It's in those stories that we get the information, the knowledge that we need to inform structural change."

She said while all change was a "slow process", a better vision was worth working towards.

"I don't know about having necessarily a clear vision but so long as it's a positive vision, and that we're working together all the time towards a better world, I think that's what's important," she said.

"There's always room to be better. If you're coming from a good place with love, with good intention that's the most important thing."

Ms Tame may have won her personal fight, but she plans to continue fighting for others.

"This [award] is for survivors. This is for all of us. I share this award with every one of you," she said.

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This is interesting!