FOLLOWING days of harrowing evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing in Ballarat earlier this year, Maureen Hatcher was compelled to make a stand.
A former St Alipius Primary Girls School pupil, Ms Hatcher was in the same grade as one of the survivors.
"Everybody in the city knows somebody affected," Ms Hatcher said. “I was in the same grade as one of the survivors and I knew others who were abused and spoke during the hearings and their families.”
During the hearing, Ms Hatcher and a group of survivor supporters encouraged people to tie a colourful ribbon onto the former St Alipius Christian Brothers’ boys’ school fence in Victoria Street.
Dubbed the “Loud Fence” the initiative went viral on social media with ribbons ribbons tied on Westminster Abbey in London, Bali, China and across Australia.
"The idea is that it's a loud fence full of bold colours because there's been too much silence surrounding the issue for too long," Ms Hatcher said. “That’s been the crux of this whole disaster, that children weren’t listened to and they weren’t supported, so it’s time to support them now and give them a voice.”
Ms Hatcher said the fence was also a way to show of support for families of victims who had died as a result of the horrific abuse.
Later this month, a projection of poignant footage of the Loud Fence ribbons floating in the wind will be illuminated on the city’s Town Hall.
In a display of solidarity, a community march will also be held on Sunday November 22. Loud Fence organisers will be meet at the former St Alipius Boys’ School in Victoria Street at 1pm before marching to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.
Ms Hatcher said the march was the community’s way of letting survivors know Ballarat was behind them. She encouraged residents to bring bright coloured ribbons and balloons. Afterwards there will be a family friendly event from 1.30pm at M.A.D.E which will include entertainment, music and food. Details: facebook.com/loudfence