The sheer joy of Monday’s announcement of a national Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in religious and other institutions in Australia was not the only emotion bringing victims to tears this week.
There was sadness at years of unnecessary suffering by victims who had begged and begged for anyone to stop ignoring this issue and deal with it head-on.
There is the unbearable tragedy of those who did not survive, those who are collateral damage to the reputations of callous careerists and to institutional arrogance and greed.
There is shock that, at the end, as developments accelerated, this decision seemed so simple and everyone suddenly seemed to get it. Or at least, at last, to publicly admit they get it.
There are the feelings of abandonment, and of worthlessness from having been neglected and ignored and knowingly allowed to suffer all those years. Feelings which can come out now that, finally, finally, finally, our leaders are saying in the national media that we are important after all, we are worth saving, we are worth holding the criminals that harmed us and those who protected them, accountable for their crimes.
Suddenly the inexplicable inability of powerful people to understand that child rape is wrong, always was wrong and will always be wrong has evaporated.
What caused them all to suddenly gain so many extra IQ points, almost overnight? Let’s hope their clarity and understanding don’t disappear as quickly as they appeared.
There is disgust.
Disgust at the disgraceful attempt by the once arrogant and now bumbling, but always callous, Big George Pell to paint himself as the victim here.
And there is pride.
Pride that in this highly flawed country, in this far from perfect world, Australian politicians took the high moral ground to address and eradicate real evil in our midst.
Pride in our own contribution to this outcome, no matter how small.
Pride in those incredible, brave individuals amongst us who made a stand on this issue, no matter the personal cost.
Pride in those who took a terrible beating in the early days, but couldn’t be beaten down. And who made the way easier for those who followed.
The fact that we have announced this Royal Commission is, deservedly, a source of national pride.
Countries around the globe are now looking to us to set a new international standard of child protection.
And, wonderfully, it seems our politicians have given us a real opportunity to achieve just that.
But the fact that wealthy, powerful, politically influential criminals were protected for so long, that brave victims were ignored and abandoned for so many years, that our suffering was increased exponentially, that so many additional children’s lives and potential were derailed, and that far, far too many never lived to see this day, that is, most deservedly, a national disgrace.
Stay safe everyone,