Lessons from Brittany and Grace

Things I learnt or knew but have been affirmed.

Sexual violence and abuse is repugnant, vile, despicable and so devastatingly destructive. Everything must be done to end it. If we are not working against it, we are leaning with it.

We know all that we need to know. Action is needed. Now.

We have to listen more carefully to survivors, their voices, their story, their pain, their answers.

The pain of past abuse and trauma is never far away. Speaking out of the pain when it surfaces can look like anger. I see in Brittany and Grace not anger but fire and resolve: I see power in claiming one’s own story and telling it; I see a fearless posture not as a victim, but an author with agency; a fierce advocacy for survivors with fire for the fight to end the violence.

There are no ‘hypothetical’ statistics or theoretical conversations about abuse and trauma. There are only ever people, always people.

Talk without action is not meaningless, it is noise, destructive noise. Empty talk occupies attention, sucks oxygen and drains energy in the precious, fragile space set apart for the work of justice.

Silence or polite smiles enables destructiveness.

Justice requires words to come alive inside people who lead with their actions.

Anyone can lead- anyone can bring words to life with persistent work and action for justice.

Those with authority and power are obliged to lead.

Women are integral to the urgent solutions we need to complex problems, especially around the use and abuse of power.

Masculinity has to be redeemed from patriarchy, lived not as a performance but as an expression of the essential core goodness of the self, erasing domination to relate as persons in partnership. Males must love justice more than maleness. (Thank you bell hooks.)

Courage is collective. Current acts are built on those who have gone before. Brittany honoured the grace and courage of Rachelle Millar. Rachelle’s pain was visibly near. The dignity of both patently obvious.

Image: https://www.npc.org.au/speaker/2022/957-grace-tame-brittany-higgins

Brittany Higgins:




Unable to be baited.

Full of dignity.

True in her beauty and wisdom, deeply compassionate.

Grace Tame:

Impatient (with inaction and empty words)

Fierce (in solidarity with survivors of abuse)

Funny (more than a little cheeky)

Steely strong in solidarity with survivors.

Hungry for justice.



Don’t ask Grace Tame a question without first asking yourself:

  • Do I already know the answer?
  • Has not enough already been asked of her?
  • What is being asked of me?
  • What should I be doing in light of what I know?