Sexual abuse survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame has explained the meaning behind one of her trademark tattoos.
Appearing on Q&A on Thursday evening, the 26-year-old Tasmanian was asked about the meaning behind her inking on her right hand by host Hamish Macdonald during a powerful episode where Ms Tame advocated for more voices of abuse to be heard.
Reading ‘EAT MY FEAR’, Ms Tame said the tattoo had helped her overcome her trauma and was about transforming negative experiences.
“I guess it’s sort of about acknowledging fears and negativity that’s naturally out there in the world but being prepared to swallow that and doing things anyway despite that and actually converting that negative energy into positivity that can fuel you throughout your life,” Ms Tame said.
Ms Tame shot to prominence after her tireless campaigning led her to be granted the legal right to speak out about her experience as a sexual assault survivor, paving the way for others to do the same.
She was groomed and raped by a teacher at her Hobart school when she was 15-years-old.
In an emotional and gripping acceptance speech at last month’s Australian of the Year awards, Ms Tame told all survivors of child sex abuse: “This is for us”.
On Thursday night, she said it was vital to have ears to speak to, regardless of whether the person listening knew how to respond or not.
“It’s so important that we can speak because victims are silenced, the abuse itself is characterised by degradation, disempowerment and feeling like you have no voice, you have no say, and saying no doesn’t matter, it falls on deaf ears, because abusers, they don’t care,” Ms Tame said.
“It starts with opening up and connecting with each other. It’s as simple as that. We need to be there for each other.
“It’s OK to not know how to respond, these are very serious heavy issues. And they’re very uncomfortable.
“But I always try to remind people that bystanders or people who are listening to a survivor who is disclosing that there is nothing more uncomfortable than the abuse itself.”
Ms Tame’s drive sparked the #LetHerSpeak campaign and following her national award, she pledged to spend the next year advocating for better education on assault, grooming and psychological manipulation by abusers.
Prominent advocate Patty Kinnersly says the significance of Ms Tame's win for survivors can't be understated.
"This ultimately will contribute to the changing of community attitudes and misconceptions for the better, which is key in preventing violence against women."
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