LOOKOUT is a group of people who are concerned
about the child abuse that has affected many people
in Healesville. Membership is open to everyone.
The group's purpose is
to raise awareness of sexual abuse in the community,
to be a support to victims and their families,
and above all to be a place where you can expect
to be listened to with understanding.
NEXT MEETING: APRIL 26
Lookout members meet monthly from February to November
1.00 - 3.00 P.M.
Venue : Golden Wattle House Joffre Street, Healesville
For more information send us an email:
While the country breathes more freely with the remarkable success in holding the COVID19 virus at bay, and now with the further protection from vaccination, it is sobering to observe that the sexual abuse and assault pandemic is by no means over. It even appears to be getting worse as more egregious incidents make headlines and long-running cases finally make it to court.
Our task of raising awareness - keeping it a live issue in Healesville - is as important as ever. In fact more important, because people are now used to hearing about children being abused, women being assaulted, an epidemic of domestic violence that includes one woman murdered by her partner every week of the year. To preserve our sanity we sometimes feel we have to step back, talking about something else while the latest report comes on the news, something we don't want to hear. We're sick of it.
But every year a new group of children start out on their dangerous journey. Our town has to make sure that every one of them travels safely and reaches maturity without being got at. We cannot afford to let our attention wander from their safety. Lookout! Be on the alert in every situation. Actively keep an eye on how people are behaving. Make your own critical judgement about what you see: is it normal, healthy, unusual, over-familiar, improper, suspect, dangerous? And don't just look away! Think about it. Talk about it. See if something needs to be said or done.
A steering committee under the leadership of John Barrett has outlined a program for the year. To get a view of the wider picture we will invite speakers from other groups active in Melbourne. Other meetings will focus on our town, parish and school, our own further education in the issue and what our response to victims should be.
Australian of the Year, Grace Tame's address to the National Press Club could well be our charter. She set out three key ways how we can support victims and bring sexual abuse to an end. Some quotes:
It is so important to listen to survivors' stories and while they are disturbing to hear the reality of what goes on behind closed doors is more so. And the more detail we omit through fear of disturbance the more we soften these crimes, the more we shield perpetrators from the shame that is resultantly misdirected to their target.
When we share we heal, reconnect and grow with that individual and as a united strengthened collective. History, lived experience unsanitised and unedited, is our greatest learning resource.
There is the potential to do so much more... There are three key areas to learn:
1. How we invite, accept and listen to the conversation of CSA survivors. It all starts with conversation.
2. What we do to expand our understanding of this heinous crime, in particular the grooming process, through both formal and informal education.
3. How we provide a consistent national framework that supports victims and their loved ones not just in their recovery but also to give them power and deter predators from action.
So what is it that we must do? First and foremost let's keep talking about it. It's that simple. Let's start by opening up. It's up to us as a community, as a country, to create a space, a national movement where survivors feel supported and free to share their truth.
Let's drive a paradigm shift of shame away from those who have been abused and onto abusers' behaviour.
Let's share the platform to remind survivors that their individual voice matters among the collective. Every story is endowed with unique catalytic educative potential that can only be told by its subject.
Let us genuinely listen, actively and without judgement and without advice to demonstrate empathy and reinsure that it is and never was our fault. Such is the success of predators in instill fear and self-doubts in the minds of their targets. Moreso than they are masters of destroying our trust in others, perpetrators are masters of destroying our trust in our own judgement, in ourselves. Such is the power of shame. A power though that is no match for the power of love.
(Grace Tame at National Press Club, March 3, 2021. Listen on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJmwOTfjn9U )
"In making Grace Tame Australian of the Year, our leaders have unleashed the power of truth."