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.
The #LetHerSpeak / #LetUsSpeak Victoria campaigns* have provided direct legal support to 17 sexual assault survivors across Tasmania, the NT and Victoria. Together, we've co-ordinated a multi-jurisdiction media campaign leading to four law reforms across three jurisdictions so far.
But there is still much work to be done and we need your help to continue.
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/ #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. (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.
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.
UPDATE: NT Survivor joins LET HER SPEAK campaign
In 2017, Sandra* was sexually assaulted at work. In 2019 her offender, Kevin Willcocks was found guilty and sentenced to 3.5 years jail, suspended after nine months. He was released at the end of last year.
Sandra* now wants to speak out using her real name but under the existing law she can't.
The NT's Attorney General, Natasha Fyles has been championing law reform and the Legislative Scrutiny Committee have recently produced a report on the draft Bill.
The LetHerSpeak campaign is supportive of the report and we look forward to law reform soon so that women like Sandra can speak.
UPDATE: The Tasmanian upper house has recently passed a Bill which will allow sexual assault survivors to use their real name provided that they:
-are over 18
-have the capacity to consent
-provide consent in writing
-are not coerced into providing consent
-all proceedings including any appeals are finalised.
UPDATE: The #LetHerSpeak campaign has had another major victory!
With the funds donated through the GoFundMe, we have assisted a second sexual assault survivor in Tasmania to win the right to use her real name when speaking to media.
Until now, you've known her only as Alicia*.
Her real names is Tameka Ridgeway and she's speaking out on the anniversary of the assault in the interest of public safety.
"I am proud that I have never stopped striving and taking proactive steps towards healing. I believe reclaiming my story constitutes another of those steps" she told The Mercury.
You can read Tameka's full story on the links below.
Thanks to all who donated.
But we still need your help.
We are urgently trying to raise funds to continue the campaign. If we can raise $10,000- $12,000 in the next month this will allow us to step up the campaign in the Northern Territory (where the same gag laws exist).
Thanks for all the support!
-The LetHerSpeak team
In 1986, Alicia* was abducted, gang raped and locked in the boot of her car while her fiance was murdered in bushland just meters away. See:
Alicia now wants to tell her full story under her real name. She's hoping to help educate others on the challenges victims face when navigating the criminal justice system and the long term impacts of trauma. But in Tasmania, it is a crime for any sexual assault survivors to speak to media under their real names.
If Alicia* does, she and any media which name her could be prosecuted and face heavy fines.
These archaic sexual assault victim gag laws silence survivors, like Alicia, and rob them of their right to be heard.
Alicia has now joined the #LetHerSpeak campaign to reform these archaic victim gag laws.
Together, we are raising funds to help take Alicia's fight to be named to the Supreme Court, and ultimately to have the law itself over turned.
In August 2019, the #LetHerSpeak campaign had its first victory!
Jane Doe* was 15 when she was groomed and repeatedly sexually assaulted by her 58-year-old maths teacher, Nicolaas Bester. After nine years of enforced silence, on August 12, 2019, Jane Doe went public, after winning her fight to be named in the Supreme Court of Tasmania, with the help of the #LetHerSpeak campaign.
Her real name is Grace Lauren Tame. Grace is now 24, and she intends to use her public voice to educate others on the warning signs of grooming.
But other victims in Tasmania and the NT are still waiting for their turn to talk. We want to take more cases to the Supreme Court, and continue to put pressure on the Government to reform the law.
Help us restore the voices of these brave survivors and give them back their names.
Together we can bring about this change.
(Photo above: Grace Tame and Nina Funnell, both sexual assault survivors who started the #LetHerSpeak campaign for gag law reform)
Leia* was just 16 years old when she was abducted, gang raped and taken to dig her own grave on Christmas eve 1993.
Leia has waited 25 years for the ring leader to die so that she can feel safe enough to tell her story via a memoir she wishes to publish.
But in Tasmania it is a crime for rape victims to use their own names. If Leia* does publish an autobiography, she could be prosecuted, as could any publishing house which agrees to publish her manuscript.
Leia has now joined the #LetHerSpeak campaign and we are supporting her right to use her real name.
JANE Doe* wants to speak.
Groomed and molested as a 15-year-old high school student by her then 58-year-old high school maths teacher Nicolaas Bester, Jane Doe now wishes to waive her right to anonymity and tell her story.
But an outdated law which only exists in Tasmania and the Northern Territory won’t allow sexual assault survivors to be identified under their real name, even with their full consent.
If Jane Doe does speak out under her real name, any publication which names her could be prosecuted and found in contempt of court.
This archaic gag-law serves to silence survivors which in turn prevents them from reclaiming ownership over their own story. While their perpetrators can still speak, victims are prevented from telling their side of the story and nor can they use their experiences to challenge stigma or educate others about sexual violence.
The #LetHerSpeak campaign aims to change all that.
We're currently supporting Jane Doe and four other survivors in Tasmania and the Northern Territory whose offenders all went to jail. Those survivors now want the chance to tell their real stories under their real names without risk of prosecution to themselves or others.
So we are raising funds to help them fight this law, first by taking their individual cases to the Supreme Court so they can use their own names, and second by campaigning to reform the law itself.
On November 8, 2018 we launched, and a coalition of 14 survivors from other states and territories (where these gag laws don't apply) shared their stories as a sign of solidarity. Read more here: https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/let-her-speak-shocking-reason-woman-cant-tell-her-sexual-assault-story/news-story/718ad770a25833970f961c551f3eaab1
- Muhammad Abdus-sabur
- Mia Potter
- Gabbie Viney
- Mark Edwards
- Jenni Vogel
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more