Australian of the Year reflects on the gravity of her recognition
Sexual assault survivor and advocate Grace Tame was named the 2021 Australian of the Year.
At 15, Grace Tame was groomed and raped by her 58-year-old math teacher at a private girls’ school in Tasmania.
But due to Tasmania’s sexual-assault victim gag laws, Grace couldn’t legally speak out about her experience while the perpetrator and media were free to do so.
As the hidden victim of the #LetHerSpeak campaign, Ms Tame applied to the Supreme Court for the right to publicly self-identify as a rape survivor and won, which allowed her to become an advocate for the issue.
Ms Tame told Mark Levy the award recognises an “evolution of conscience” and has given her the opportunity to bring wider attention to her platform.
“It’s the lived experience we need to properly inform legislation and properly inform social shift.
“There are lots of cultures unfortunately that still reinforce and enable perpetrators.
“We need to shift the shame away from victims, away from survivors, back toward criminal behaviour.”
Ms Tame believes the ability for victims to speak out about their abuse is imperative to encouraging others to come forward.
“Every time I speak, so many people reach out to me,” she said. “Positive change is a domino effect.”
Click PLAY below to hear the full interview
Image: The Today Show