It has been a grueling week for those who have appeared again and again on our screens from the Rome hearings of the Royal Commission but it has also been a very trying week for all those who have never been on television.
All those who have been affected both directly and indirectly by the lasting blight of sexual abuse and in many cases never wanted or felt the need to speak about the damage. Most of all there those for whom these revelations come too late. They should never be forgotten.
Those who did stand up, told their stories and went to Rome have said they are merely ambassadors for all those victims, living and dead, in the hope that they can bring about a change. This from the beginning was what they were going to Rome for, for their own truth and healing but also those who had lived under similar burdens.
They will suffer in the weeks to come, as they always have, but they should know a city is behind them and in a week of inner torment few people can imagine, they have achieved on the public stage what decades have not been able to make known. It is an achievement to be proud of.
The Loud Fence movement, humble and simple ribbons fluttering the breeze, are a simple enough symbol but these survivors have taken them with their courage to the world.
Ironically the inability of Cardinal Pell to return to Ballarat, so embittering for many, has escalated the profile of the hearings and it might even be argued propelled a better outcome. While The Courier in no way wishes to underplay the disappointment and frustration of all those victims who feel the truth is still hopelessly elusive and the blame still too easily deflected, the week has ended on one small positive note.
The private meeting between the victims and the Cardinal was intense and emotional. These were bitter stories to be heard and tears were shed. Certainly the Cardinal displayed a human side 15 hours of cross examination never revealed.
But this personal drama is perhaps less important than the resolution of his words afterward and even a small sense of cooperation between disparate parties on one major point; the terrible legacy of damage of sexual abuse must be halted and helped in Ballarat.
For anyone who has doubted the worth of this Roman pilgrimage could such a resolution have been imagined without it?
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