There is more to be done. Help continue to fight for the rights of ALL sexual assault survivors across the country to be able to speak out without risk of prosecution to themselves or others with #LetUsSpeak Australia.
Did you know that some sexual assault survivors in the Northern Territory are still gagged from telling their stories and can face up to six months jail for breaking the gag law?
Or that the Victorian Government is currently debating the introduction of new laws in 2021, which would make it a crime for grieving parents, relatives and media to name deceased rape victims, such as Jill Meagher, without a court order (which are often expensive and traumatic to obtain)?
(You can also learn more about the campaign at the website: https://www.letusspeak.com.au/ )
In 2021, donations will be used to:
1. Continue to fight gag-laws in the Northern Territory.
In July 2020, the NT Government eased the sexual assault victim gag laws, but the reforms only went half way. As a result, ‘Sandra’ whose case spearheaded the NT Campaign, is still unable to reveal her real name and would face 6 months jail for doing so. Her offender, Kevin Willcocks, was found guilty of raping Sandra in front of a group of men at a bucks party in 2017. He has now been released from prison having served nine months jail for the rape, but continues to appeal the verdict, knowing that doing so will keep Sandra indefinitely gagged.
‘Sandra’ should not have to wait another day to tell her story under her real name.
2. Fight with families to prevent the introduction of gag laws which would erase the legacies of deceased rape victims in Victoria.
In 2020, the Victorian government introduced oppressive gag-laws which prohibited living survivors from being named in media, in cases which resulted in a conviction. We fought that law and had it overturned in November. But the Victorian government is still considering a gag-law on naming all deceased rape victims. That gag would make it a crime for relatives, media, and others to name women like Jill Meagher and Aiia Maasarwe. The government is currently consulting on the law (into February 2021) and the issue is scheduled to be debated some time before September 2021.
3. Survivor voices project: support survivor stories.
Since the campaign first launched in 2018, it has become clear to the campaign creator and partners that more resources are needed to support survivors to understand their rights when working with media. The campaign is currently working to develop materials and resources to support survivors to tell their stories.
About #LetHerSpeak & #LetUsSpeak
*The #LetHerSpeak/ #LetUsSpeak campaign was created by Walkley award winning journalist and survivor advocate, Nina Funnell, in partnership with Marque Lawyers, End Rape On Campus Australia, and Rape & Sexual Assault Research & Advocacy. Through integrating awareness raising activities (media advocacy), direct legal support for individual victim-survivors impacted by gag laws (individual advocacy), and government lobbying (systems based advocacy), the campaign takes a holistic approach to law and policy reform.
The original #LetHerSpeak test case: Grace Tame
The campaign was launched in November 2018 and in August 2019, the #LetHerSpeak campaign had its first major public victory revealing Grace Tame’s identity for the first time, after obtaining a court order on her behalf through the Supreme Court of Tasmania . When Grace was 15, she was groomed and repeatedly sexually assaulted by her 58-year-old maths teacher, Nicolaas Bester. Grace is now using her voice to educate others on the warning signs of sexual grooming.
That Supreme court exemption then helped pave the way for the #LetHerSpeak campaign partners to fight to overturn Tasmania’s gag laws. The Northern Territory has also made positive strides but there is still work ahead and, as we move into 2021, we are also fighting to prevent new laws in Victoria which may prohibit families of deceased rape victims from naming their loved ones in public.
The #LetHerSpeak and #LetUsSpeak campaigns are advocating for the rights of all Australian sexual assault survivors to tell their stories, without risk of prosecution to themselves or others.
(Please note: our media partner, news.com.au's legal counsel, Gina McWilliams assisted with Grace's legal work along with Marque Lawyers. Marque Lawyers have performed the legal work for all other survivors assisted by the campaign).
For immediate help dial: 000 or for counselling dial 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) and ask to speak to a trauma specialist counsellor.
- Janet Cripps
- Susan Hoddinott
- Andrew Weiss
Organizer and beneficiary
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