Since before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, survivors and their supporters have called for a public, permanent acknowledgement and memorial to the people affected in Ballarat.
Several efforts have been made, and have stalled - it's a complex issue, as while some survivors of clerical abuse want a prominent memorial, for others, it would bring back too many awful memories.
The colourful Loud Fence ribbons attached to many Ballarat institutions across town - from fire stations to primary schools to St Patrick's Cathedral - remember the people affected by the abuse, including people who have since died.
But the ribbons are not permanent, despite dedicated people attaching more when they fall, or are cut off.
The Continuous Voices project, officially announced in December after months of work, is a long-term collaborative art initiative, working with Beyond Empathy, a not-for-profit that helps communities through art, and Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, amongst other organisations.
It's currently taking submissions and expressions of interest on its website, and co-organiser Blake Curran - himself the son of a victim of clerical abuse - said he hoped the project's flexibility would create a more meaningful way to remember what had occurred.
"Building a memorial is what I wanted to do in the first place, but in the past nine months I've seen how we can have a bigger impact on the community," he said.
"It's some form of help - helping the entire community heal, trying to enable the entire community to do different things."
Loud Fence's Maureen Hatcher, who is also on the committee, agreed.
"We're working on something we hope will be a place for victims and survivors to go to, we're really conscious of doing that well," she said.
"We want as many survivors, and victim families to get involved, and it's important that family members have a say and a voice, it's not just the ones that have survived, it's really important that everybody caught up in that ripple effect is involved.
"The more voices we have, the better the end product will be."
The project has the backing of the City of Ballarat, contributing $50,000.
Deputy mayor Belinda Coates said the response so far had been encouraging, and added it was not just for survivors or those affected by clerical abuse.
"The concept of the project has been really well received, and we really do hope that many people come forward, or consider registering their interest in participating," she said.
"It's aiming to be an inclusive process, basically we're working with the partners involved in the project."
Separately, other survivors are considering stronger action.
An online petition circulated by the Facebook page Ballarat So Sad called for the St Alipius Boys School building, once a hunting ground for convicted paedophiles including Ridsdale, Best, and Farrell, to be demolished, with a memorial built in its place.
Ballarat-based survivor Andrew Collins said the site, now a kindergarten in a heritage overlay zone, was "Ballarat's Ground Zero".
"It's the worst place in Australia, the epicentre, there was no place worse," he said."
"No matter what they use it for, it's a symbol of wealth and power over victims.
"What a powerful statement to survivors (demolition would be) - if this causes you so much pain, well, you're more important."
However, there is a precedent for a permanent memorial in Ballarat.
At St Patrick's College, ribbons from its fence attached to remember boys sexually abused were saved and kept in a chest, which now sits amongst a garden.
The project involved consultation with survivors, advocates, family members, and people outside the school community, according to community development director Paul Nolan.
"A number of victims, survivors were heavily involved in the planning process," he explained.
"We wanted to make sure that whatever we ended up doing was cognizant with their wishes.
"Our monument garden, or reflective garden, needed to be visible, prominent, permanent, and accessible - it's located right at the very front of the school, it's accessible by Sturt Street, and people will come sometimes and just sit there in a quiet place."
The Catholic Diocese of Ballarat was phoned for comment.
- An exhibition inspired by the Royal Commission into Clergy Sexual Abuse will also be held at the Art Gallery of Ballarat between July and October 2020.
Professional helplines are available for anyone who is struggling, including survivors and their families.
The Centre Against Sexual Assault Ballarat has urged people affected by the revelations of child sexual abuse to seek help if needed.
Trained counsellors are available to speak to on a number of issues.
"We encourage anyone who has been affected by sexual assault to seek support," a spokesperson said,
"At Ballarat CASA we listen, provide support and advocacy in addition to acknowledging your experiences and the impact it may have had on your life."
People can arrange a one-off session at the centre in Sebastopol, or they can look to have ongoing counselling.
The centre also offers advocacy and case management.
Phone CASA Ballarat on 5320 3933, email email@example.com, or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292.
Phone Lifeline 24-hours on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 224 636, or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.
The Blue Knot Foundation, which helps survivors of childhood trauma, has a helpline available from 9am to 5pm on 1300 657 380, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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