Abuse survivor who gives victims voice named Australian of the Year

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CANBERRA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- A young woman who advocates for survivors of sexual assault, and an Aboriginal educator are among the recipients of Australian of the Year awards.

Grace Tame, a 26-year-old who was groomed and raped by her maths teacher from age 15, was on Monday night named the Australian of the Year for 2021.

Tame led the fight to overturn Tasmanian laws preventing victims of sexual assault from speaking out.

She is the first Tasmanian to be named Australian of the Year in the 61-year history of the award.

"All survivors of child sexual abuse, this is for us," she said in accepting the award in Canberra.

"I lost my virginity to a paedophile. I was 15, anorexic. He was 58, he was my teacher. Publicly he described his crimes as 'awesome' and 'enviable'. Publicly I was silenced by law. Not anymore.

"I remember him saying, 'Don't make a sound.' Well, hear me now, using my voice amongst a growing chorus of voices that will not be silenced," Tame said.

The Australian of the Year awards panel said in a statement that Tame "demonstrated extraordinary courage."

Tame was recognized alongside Senior Australian of the Year Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, who in 1975 became the Northern Territory's first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher.

Isobel Marshall, a 22-year-old charity worker, was named Young Australian of the Year and Rosemary Kariuki named Australia's Local Hero for her work supporting migrants and refugees to Australia struggling with isolation. Enditem

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