Meet The Survivors Reshaping The System



We are in the midst of a seismic shift, unprecedented in Western history. Victim survivors of sexual violence and abuse aren’t just being heard – some are even feted as icons. Rosie, Brittany, Grace, Chanel – these are women who are known not just for the violence they were subjected to, but for their power, tenacity and courage. I’m not suggesting that we have banished the old era – in which victim survivors were pathologised, blamed, disregarded and disbelieved. Jurors remain so reluctant to believe rape victims, that rape itself is all but decriminalised.

But we are seeing a new era in which an increasingly diverse range of victim survivors (albeit still predominantly white, attractive and able-bodied) are imbued with a unique power, wisdom and expertise. We’re actually listening to victim survivors now – and huge thanks for that goes to Rosie Batty, who became one of the country’s most powerful advocates for survivors of family violence mere hours after her ex-partner murdered their son, Luke.

Batty was by no means the first victim survivor to become an advocate – many had been working in the family violence sector for decades or started their own charities. But her elevation to Australian of the Year made her a household name around the country, and she showed – through her incredible tenacity and effort – just how influential victim survivors could be on the national conversation. Since Batty, the landscape has changed enormously: the media is no longer simply seeking the blockbuster parts of a victim survivor’s story, but their whole stories. Victim survivors are being treated as experts in their lived experience, and asked not just for their stories, but their ideas.

“Thanks to this shift, we’re becoming better at understanding how trauma works. We’re finally grasping that the incident – the rape, the assault, the hit, the grope – was just the visible tip of a much greater iceberg.”

– Jess Hill

Finally, we are starting to see gendered violence not as a collection of physical incidents, but as a whole system of abuse. One that happens in private and in public. One that involves everyone from the perpetrator to the prime minister. But victim survivors aren’t just telling their stories – they are lobbying politicians, influencing policy, producing ground-breaking research and developing networks of peer support. They do this so that others will not be left to suffer alone. They do it to change systems, so they are actually responsive to victim-survivor. They do it to prevent the violence from happening in the first place.

Meet The Women Making Thousands From Their Wardrobes



Here are nine victim-survivor advocates. Some who are publicly known; some are just getting started; others have been working behind the scenes. Each are working to unravel the status quo and, using their own personal skills, lived experience and expertise, they are changing Australia for the better. Read their stories at PRIMER.,


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