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Support all the brave people who speak out about abuse

I was asked to write a comment piece for The Argus following extensive coverage about a survivor who had waived her right to anonymity. I've reproduced it here:


The courage of Tina Roper, who featured in The Argus when she waived her right to anonymity to speak out about her experiences of sexual violence, is testament to the incredible strength and resilience shown by many survivors.


Having secured convictions against the men who had abused her, she wants to show to others who have experienced, or are still experiencing abuse what she went through, that you can speak out and that justice can be achieved.


However every survivor is different. Their experiences, their responses and their needs can also be markedly different and all are valid. There is no right way to respond to such trauma.


Survivors’ Network and other similar organisations across the country are here for survivors no matter what they decide to do.


We can listen and talk through all the options available, whether someone is reporting to the police or not. Or we can just listen.


For some, like Tina, the experience of the criminal justice process is a key step in their recovery and she now wants to offer hope to others.


But we should not have to rely on survivors alone.


It is the responsibility of us all as friends, family members, colleagues and professionals to believe, to listen and to support those who disclose such experiences.


Abuse thrives on secrecy, disbelief and fear.


We need to break the silence.


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