In 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was about to arrive in Ballarat - so many people would soon give evidence about the city's horrific past.
How could the public show their support for survivors who were reliving the worst moments of their lives?
In May that year, St Patrick's College headmaster John Crowley tied ribbons to the school's fence to show his support for the children who were abused decades prior.
The ribbons began to appear elsewhere in town - Maureen Hatcher was one of the people who said more must be done.
She and a group of former St Alipius Primary School students were shocked at what the Royal Commission was revealing - her classmates, who went to primary school just a block away, had suffered horrendous abuse.
"From our conversations with other people, we were hearing people wanted to do something but they didn't know what to do," she said.
"We thought we really wanted some ribbons to be tied at the former Christian Brothers school on Victoria Street - that's where we were hearing so many of these stories from, it was affecting families we knew, we'd lived all these years without knowing about it.
"We decided to meet at the former Christian Brothers school that afternoon, and we tied some ribbons.
"I decided that day, talking about what colour ribbons (to use), I said let's make it really colourful and loud - there's been too much silence."
Phil Nagle, who is one of the few boys still alive from the infamous year level targeted by paedophile Christian Brothers in the 1970s, said he immediately phoned other survivors in Ballarat to let them know what was happening.
"The thing that excited us the most was it was people showing support for survivors - it was overwhelming in a short period of time," he said.
"The ribbons were up and showing support.
"It was an uplifting feeling to see so many go up, and see that so many people in Ballarat really care about us, and it's good to see they're still there five years later."
St Patrick's College spokesperson Paul Nolan said the school had been speaking to survivors and its broader community at the time.
This photo from five years ago shows the first ribbon being tied in recognition of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. It started the @loudfence movement. To see today's front cover of the St Kevin's College Omnia magazine in 2020 provides further hope for healing. pic.twitter.com/0PLoukxQLK— Paul Nolan (@pwnolan) April 30, 2020
"We were trying to determine a way our community could voice their support during the Royal Commission," he said.
"We were rapt, over the moon, when we saw other people like Maureen were happy to take that idea on and take it further, because it's become international."
The ribbons began appearing outside schools, churches, fire stations, and swimming pools - anywhere there were memories of children being abused and harmed by people in power.
In 2016, a delegation of Ballarat survivors and their supporters travelled to Rome to hear Cardinal George Pell give evidence to the Royal Commission - ribbons were tied at the Vatican.
"We intended that the Loud Fence was that particular fence in Victoria Street, but what then happened was the community response was so huge people started naming all fences with ribbons on them 'loud fences', I think that's extraordinary," Ms Hatcher said.
FROM 2015: Loud Fence movement goes to New York
City of Ballarat deputy mayor Belinda Coates was on that delegation - a former sexual assault counsellor, she said knowing Loud Fence was a grassroots campaign, supported by ordinary people in Ballarat, was huge for survivors.
"That helped build community empathy, that really built the community support movement - it was incredibly heartening," she said.
"For survivors, often the greatest fear is just not being believed, and I believe it's more than a symbolic movement, it's a tangible demonstration of support for survivors, their families, and supporters."
She said there was still more work to be done to help the healing process.
"We can't underestimate the broader impact of shining a light on abuse of power in the context of family, communities, institutions, workplaces, churches, and the ripple effect on families," she said.
"It's such an important and positive movement, and it's incredibly important to celebrate the milestone.
"It demonstrates it has been such a long road, much longer that five years, for gaining more community awareness - and in turn, hopefully that awareness leads to prevention of that abuse of power and sexual and other violence."
Ms Hatcher agrees - she said while some institutions have come far in acknowledging their histories, grassroots community actions like Loud Fence should not have to drag them into the light.
"Sadly we're still waiting for some of the leaders of organisations involved in a lot of these horrific stories to come out and speak up - has that really happened?" she said.
"I think that's the hard thing for survivors, I feel like the community, in a lot of ways, is doing all the work. Loud Fence is filling that gap, but where are the people whose businesses, whose organisations and institutions that were involved in all this, where are they?"
However, she said some organisations had been exemplary.
The Country Fire Authority recognised the history of abuse at its Ballarat Fire Station, on Barkly Street, with a ceremony and plaque unveiled last year.
There are still ribbons attached to the fence.
"The CFA were brilliant with what they did, that's a good example of where leadership stood up," Ms Hatcher said.
"They did that reasonably quickly, they collaborated with the survivors - that was a huge step in itself.
"It shows it can work if you've got that leadership support.
"It's important we remember this is for all survivors of child sexual abuse, not just clergy, that's huge here but it's much more than that."
In a statement, Ballarat Captain Mark Cartledge said it had been a "significant journey" for the brigade.
"It is important for us to recognise the historical incidents as a tragic and regrettable part of our history," he said.
"It was an honour to work with survivors and the Loud Fence movement to unveil a plaque on our fence last year as permanent tribute."
St Patrick's College also has a permanent tribute - Mr Nolan said the school had taken steps to keep every ribbon tied to its fence.
The opening of its memorial garden was attended by several former students who had been abused there - this recognised the work undertaken to ensure survivors were prioritised during planning.
"We were cognisant the ribbons had been there over a year, they were starting to look tattered and weather beaten, but we didn't want to cut them off and throw them away," he said.
"We have a glass, weather-proof case at the front (where we store them).
"We invited Maureen and Phil to remove the ribbons and place them in the garden, and since then, some people have tied more ribbons to our fence, and periodically, we remove them and put them in the garden so they're there forever.
"It's accessible to everyone, it's an enclosed space, and it's an ongoing monument to the victims and survivors."
The ribbons are still appearing - in February this year, an Anglican church in Ballarat East had hundreds of ribbons attached, and authorities promised they would be there permanently.
Anglican Diocese of Ballarat Bishop Garry Weatherill said the ribbons brought comfort to people - he noted he had received requests to remove the ribbons, including from some survivors, but they were also a "reminder" for the community.
"They can express a whole range of emotions connected with abuse that's happened in the church," he said.
"It's a very visual reminder of the abuse - I hope it's also a reminder of the incredible changes that have come as a consequence of people speaking out about the abuse that's happened to them.
"I'm happy it's been a successful way for some people to deal with the many levels of emotion, and a reminder to those that are regular church goers that we have to be ever-vigilant."
The Catholic Diocese of Ballarat's Father Justin Driscoll said for him, the ribbons were also a sign to remember, and recommit.
"I hope that those who are survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and all sexual abuse, know the ribbons are a sign to them - the premier expressed it beautifully a few weeks ago - that they are not forgotten," he said.
"The visible signs are important, and for people who are experiencing the challenges of being a survivor, there are people who don't want to forget them and their story, and the work that still needs to happen - I still think the Loud Fence is helpful for that."
He said the ribbons were also a reminder that healing was a "long process".
"The hope is the process of truth, justice, and healing continues, and if it's able to unite us, then it's a wonderful opportunity to move forward together," he said.
He also pointed out some ribbons on the St Patrick's Cathedral fence were not representing survivors and victims of clerical sexual abuse.
"The cathedral here is at the heart of Ballarat, we host ribbons placed by survivors from many institutions, including our own in the Catholic diocese, but also people who have been abused in other institutions, and people who have been abused in other places who perhaps have nowhere else to tie a ribbon," he said.
"I appreciate that people can come to do that here, and I hope that's a helpful thing for them."
That's echoed by Ms Hatcher - as the ribbons were tied across the world, they took on their own meanings, she said.
"Survivors can get counselling, but often people caught in the ripple effect cannot, they might not be able to access it or even not know they can access it," she said.
"Where do they go? What do they do? What about the people that were abused in their families? They haven't got a fence to tie to.
"(Loud Fence) has got a life of its own, and I know a lot of people that tie ribbons to fences of churches that weren't abused by clergy, but it's a place to tie a ribbon and show support."
She acknowledged there had been criticism from some community members - every few months ribbons are cut down, but are quickly replaced in greater numbers - but said the purpose was not to personally attack any individual or religion.
Some survivors have also said the ribbons are a visual reminder of traumatic experiences they cannot avoid.
"I can understand the criticism, I really do, I can see that some people can see it as a protest, and might take it personally, or might think it's triggering," she said.
"It's so disappointing when they get cut down, because they do represent people - I know mothers that travel to Ballarat to attach ribbons to the cathedral fence in memory of their sons who have taken their own lives.
"Talking about it, reflecting on it, makes me realise there are so many stories.
"People have taken on their own messages about what it means, but honestly, it was a simple show of support for those people speaking out."
Federal Ballarat MP Catherine King said these efforts to continue the conversation were important for the entire city.
"For too long Ballarat's history of child sexual abuse remained hidden. Over the past five years, the Loud Fence movement has become a symbol that our community believes survivors, that we stand with them, and that the crimes of the past can never be allowed to reoccur," she said in a statement.
"For those who have died, the ribbons are a symbol that we remember them.
"That the number of ribbons has grown so much over the last five years shows clearly the depth of support that in our community. That support will remain forever."
The focus has turned to what happens next - the coronavirus pandemic has not stopped plans for an innovative reflection and memorial program, Continuous Voices.
The project is supported by the City of Ballarat and many other agencies, including Loud Fence, and will include personal artistic responses like podcasts, storytelling, and artworks, and potentially a public memorial space.
"It's great to have this project under way, it's got so many different ways that people can get involved, either as survivor, as people who have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse in the past, supporters, and artists - we've got some online training coming up soon for artists to help them work with people who have experienced trauma," Cr Coates said.
"There are things like podcasts that people can do, which is a really important way of people expressing themselves, telling their story as a survivor or supporter.
"We'd encourage people to jump online and check out the website and register their expression of interest about staying informed - then our people running the project can send out regular info about the activities they can get involved in."
Ms Hatcher said she and her team will continue to keep tying ribbons.
"I think the reason for that is that we're filling a gap for people - in this murkiness, of child sexual abuse, yes you've got counselling and support agencies, but we're filling that community gap where people are able to do something to show they care, and they support (survivors)," she said.
"I feel like now, after five years, it's become a celebration of the survivor voice."
Affected by this story? There is help available.
You can phone the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, in Sebastopol, on 5320 3933, or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292.
Or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380, or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.
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