Survivors of child sexual abuse in religious institutions in Australia were very nervous and excited with the imminent release of the final report of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry.
We have been betrayed by those in authority so uniformly throughout our entire lives.
We have seen those determined to coverup these crimes pretending to offer truth, justice and healing but delivering a cynically perverted and highly abusive form of suppression of the truth, denial of justice and prevention of healing.
We have begged politicians to act on these crimes so many times over so many decades and they have continued to sacrifice the powerless and pander to the influential.
Police, the courts and child protection have let us down at best, neglected our rights, ignored our evidence, or been corruptly complicit in the criminal conspiracy to coverup the crimes against us at worst.
One survivor I was speaking to today described herself as paranoid in expecting to be disappointed and let down by those in authority who are supposed to assist us.
But one thing we are not, is paranoid.
Our inability to trust is a perfectly reasonable response to the terrifyingly confusing and unsafe world in which we grew up. And to the continuing betrayals we have experienced as vulnerable and damaged adults.
Those we were ordered to trust, our parents, teachers, the police, courts, politicians, religious officials, society, and of course, our abusers, were unworthy of our or anyone’s trust. (With some exceptions in certain cases)
So we couldn’t help but feel that somehow this inquiry would be perverted and corrupted too, and this report would contain, not the truth, and a way forward to prevent the disgraceful past from being repeated in the future, but another betrayal.
There was betrayal in the title of the report, but not, I am thrilled to conclude, in the contents.
The recommendations, while not delivering everything every survivor asked for, are an excellent beginning.
The committee has kept the recommendations simple, practical, and have focused on the core, the unquestionable, the vital improvements needed to drag this issue back from the Dark Ages.
They have understood the real causes of this problem and have not fallen for the deceitful PR campaigns aiming to excuse, distract, minimise or misrepresent what was really going on here.
The report did not include every point on my personal wish list of changes, but it did deliver most of them, and those it delivered are probably the most important to be implemented in the short term.
Other changes can be added later, hopefully in the reports of the Royal Commission.
Already there appears to be bipartisan support for swift implementation of these changes from the Victorian Parliament.
Indeed some of the recommendations are so well crafted as to be extremely simple to deliver with minute wording changes to legislation.
Naturally some are much more complicated.
But the reasoning behind these measures, and the arguments illuminating the flaws in the excuses offered for lobbying against similar measures in the past are simply too strong.
There is no acceptable excuse for not protecting children against dangerous, predatory child rapists. No matter who they work for.
This is a red letter day for survivors because we are seeing the end of betrayal and the beginning of hope.
Tonight the tears we cry will be happy ones.
Tonight we can sleep well knowing healing is finally possible.
Stay safe everyone.