A SURVIVOR of child sexual abuse has told a forum in Bendigo of her experiences in the hope that what happened to her will never be repeated.
Jane Rosengrave, who has intellectual disabilities, was in institutional care in regional Victoria from the age of six-months to 21.
During this time she was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by a number of different men charged with her care.
On Tuesday, Mrs Rosengrave spoke at two different information sessions in Bendigo of her involvement with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“I want people to know what I have been through,” she said.
“I want them to see how hard my life has been and learn from the mistakes of the past.”
CEO of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), Matthew Bowden, told the Bendigo Advertiser that people who shared their stories of abuse often found it a cathartic experience.
“It’s entirely up to the individual to decide if it is a path they want to take,” Mr Bowden said.
“But other people who we’ve worked with have found it to be a very positive healing experience and quite transformative in terms of their recovery and them becoming survivors of assault or assaults that happened to them as a child.”
Mr Bowden said the commission provided a private space in which those who gave evidence were not cross-examined, but listened to and believed.
“It isn’t about them needing to prove what happened, it’s a case where the commissioner bears witness to what happened to them as a child,” he said.“
“Also, there are altruistic elements… some people want their story documented so it can help prevent what happened to them from happening again to a child in the same situation.”
Mr Bowden said there were people in Bendigo who knew of incidents of child sexual abuse which had never been reported and called on them to come forward.
“Family members, workers or people who were children in clubs or organisations who witnessed something happening to another child can also go forward to the commission and talk about what they witnessed,” he said.
“It may even be something they heard from a third party.”
PWDA can provide assistance and information for those with disabilities to access legal advice, counselling, pursue compensation and provide evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
For more information contact PWDA on 02 9370 3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.