Memorial honouring abuse victims a powerful symbol of hope

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse were the first to tie a ribbon to the Loud Fence Ballarat Memorial, which was installed at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka on Thursday.

FRIENDSHIP: Gary Sculley, Maureen Hatcher and Tony Wardley have all had a huge role to play in the Loud Fence movement and continue to inspire the community.

FRIENDSHIP: Gary Sculley, Maureen Hatcher and Tony Wardley have all had a huge role to play in the Loud Fence movement and continue to inspire the community.

The launch included powerful speeches from Ballarat survivors Gary Sculley and Tony Wardley, along with a song from ARIA award-winning artist Sara Storer called How Sweet the Voice, dedicated to the ribbons in Ballarat.

Addressing a packed Tower Room filled with supporters and campaigners, Mr Sculley said the ribbons represented the past, present and future, and Loud Fence must not slip away. 

“To put this all into one word, it would be humanity,” he told the audience.

“Loud Fence is humanity, you all represent humanity, so you all are Loud Fence.”

Mr Sculley described his involvement in the launch as a humbling experience.

He said while the struggle would continue, he was inspired by the community’s constant show of support. 

“We need laws changed, we need governments to stand up and not side shift and do the right thing, and not allow an entity or entities to operate under their own laws in our country and get away with the most heinous crime that has ever been committed,” Mr Sculley said. 

Mr Wardley described Loud Fence as a beautiful memorial that empowered children to ask questions.

At the core of the ‘No More Silence’ movement was the protection of these children. 

“We need the public to make sure the recommendations are implemented for kids in the future,” he said.

City of Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates, who was another guest speaker, spoke of the power in community. 

“What is really heartwarming about today is that every person in the room has had a role to play in getting us to where we are today,” she said. “That can’t be downplayed, it really is what pulls us together, the community, our capacity to support each other.”

Campaigner Chrissie Foster, who travelled to Ballarat especially for the memorial launch, said it was important to continue gathering people together to remember, celebrate and ask for things.

“We all need to remind the politicians that the recommendations from the royal commission need to come in and we are not going to forget it, just as we are not going to forget Loud Fence,” Ms Foster said.

The general public is invited to add ribbons to the permanent monument.  

To contact CASA, call 5320 3933 or free call 24 hours 1800 806 292. Lifeline can be accessed on 13 11 14.