Following the royal commission investigation and George Pell’s testimony, I feel furious.
Shame and all effects of trauma grows exponentially if it is surrounded by, secrecy , silence and judgment. The royal commission is providing an opportunity to shine some empathy and compassion towards the survivors, and by doing so, reduce their suffering. It seems like that George Pell is wasting this opportunity.
What the Brave Men of Ballarat are doing by showing up is reducing the sense of shame for all survivors of sexual abuse. This is especially resonant for those who previously sought help from their own families, friends, or communities and were met with deaf ears, blind eyes and mouths that judged – thereby causing more pain, shame and sense of betrayal.
George Pell’s responses are disgraceful and won’t give relief to the brave survivors, but our support, empathy and compassion as a society can. It is important to know that sexual abuse happens everywhere, in the ‘best families’ as much as in religious organisations. It is important to educate ourselves on the impact of sexual abuse and trauma and if we struggle to support a loved one or a friend, to ask for help. These are hard conversations to have, but we need to be brave.
I am deeply moved by the Brave Men of Ballarat and I proudly donated to support the survivors to be present in Rome.
My hope is that the Pope will hear them.