”Why do we want our stories told? Because apologies are simply words which fade away and are forgotten.
For us, the abuse will never be forgotten. We will live it our whole life. We don’t want the next generations to suffer lifelong issues as we have. We have suffered financially, medically, mentally and this has impacted our family and friends. It makes it extremely difficult to have trust in anyone or anything.
The Royal Commission was a great relief as we were able to tell our stories, but it will be soon swept under the carpet. By continuing to tell our stories, we will keep it in the spotlight”
– Alby Leffers, participant and survivor 2017
The multi-media exhibition ‘Taken – forget us not’ acknowledges the lives of victims and survivors of child abuse has been selected to be featured at the 2019 Head On PhotoFestival in Sydney NSW. This project compliments the past exhibition projects with its collaborative approach. With the findings and redress of Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and the recent announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality, the timing of the proposal is extremely significant. Many of facilities that were responsible for the abuse of children rebadged to become aged care facilities, risking a second dose of abuse. It is also critical that the project is not perceived as a historical look, and include the voices younger people to show that the issue of child abuse continues today.
The creator of the project, Belinda Mason, is inviting people to participate in the project from across Australia. How people participate and how much they wish to reveal is up to each individual to decide. For example, a video interview, photographic portrait, producing or providing artwork or photography, providing copies of personal documents or stories for display.
The power and integrity of this project is held by the twenty participants, who were vulnerable children when they were subjected to child abuse. This abuse was perpetrated by those who were supposed to care for and protect them from harm. Abuse which cannot be forgotten and continues to harm them to this day. Through this project participants have the opportunity to share their stories of violence, in an unquestioning way, and in doing so, make the personal political.Each of the participants courageously shares their experiences to provide a deeply moving testament to its impact on their lives, and the lives of those around them. For each person in the project, there are many more whose stories and lives are invisible. For them the project provides recognition that they are not isolated in their experiences.
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