Regarding the memorial for all victims of childhood sexual violence, I'm glad that there is something finally happening, and that it is for all victims, and not just those from religious institutions.
What I am not happy about is the location.
Victoria Park may be nice, but it's out of sight for visitors and the community.
Survivors lobbied for more than a decade for a public memorial for all survivors, with the stipulation that it had to be in a prominent place, like Sturt Street.
For too long abuses were covered up. People did not want to hear about it, and it was a dirty secret that nobody mentioned.
Then we had a Victorian Inquiry and a Royal commission, and it was brought into the light.
This upset many, because Ballarat was one of the worst places in the world for childhood sexual abuse, and the stories heard were confronting. Many struggled to understand how this could happen.
To heal as a community, firstly requires acceptance, then reconciliation with victims, then making sure that this never happens again.
A public memorial in Sturt Street would be a constant reminder that it did happen, that thousands of children were affected, and that this can never happen again.
It would be a sign of a mature community.
Putting a memorial near a pond in Victoria Park does not do this.
It reeks of appeasement and of further hiding the issue.
All victims I have met say the most important thing is that this must never happen again. It can't be forgotten. The memorial needs to be in people's faces.
After the royal commission, not much has changed for victims.
Suicides are still too high. Real outcomes are still not happening, and institutions are still fighting victims. And there is no equal victims of crime compensation in all states for non-institutional survivors.
No improved mental health programs and definitely no justice.
I implore council to go ahead and build the project, but do it for the benefit of those who have lost family.
But build the memorial you promised survivors in a prominent position in Sturt Street.
We can never forget, and we want to make sure that future generations never forget, and never allow this to happen again.
Andrew Collins, Mount Helen
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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