#LetUsSpeak campaign launched in Victoria

26 August 2020

Written by: Miah Shannon

The campaign aims to change new laws regarding the naming of sexual assault victims and their perpetrators.

The #LetUsSpeak campaign launched today in Victoria to reverse the new law that denies sexual assault victims the right to use their real name whilst telling their story.

Previously in Victoria, sexual assault victims had the right t0 discretion when choosing to be named in the media.

However, that right has now been taken away with an amendment to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act enacted on 7 February this year, which makes using the real name of a sexual assault victim a jailable offence.

This is the second iteration of the #LetUsSpeak campaign in Australia after it was first launched in Tasmania in 2018 in support of a single sexual assault victim who wanted the right to tell her story using her real name.

The initiative has so far reformed the laws in Tasmania and the Northern Territory and hopes to do the same in Victoria.

The campaign is a collaboration between Rape & Sexual Assault Research & Advocacy Initiative, End Rape On Campus Australia, and Marque Lawyers.

News Corp is also supporting the campaign after learning of sexual assault victim Maggie who tried to tell her story using her real name in March in order to keep her father behind bars.

She has been barred from doing so as the new law applies to victims whose perpetrators have been charged with proceedings pending or have already been found guilty.

These new laws have been described as a “major victory” for convicted peadophiles and rapists who also cannot be named by extension of the revised law.

Victims can no longer self-identify in any form of publication irrespective of the fact they may have given consent.

The new law encompasses all sexual assault victims and offenders, censoring those who have been legally speaking out for years.

Anyone caught breaching the new law, including the victims, can be jailed for up to four months whilst also being fined either $3,304 or $8,261 for any corporation involved in disseminating a victim or perpetrators real name.

The only way a victim like Maggie can reclaim the right for their name to be used is to obtain a court order which can be a lengthy and expensive process, costing in excess of $10,000.

“There is no way that I would just have ten thousand dollars sitting around to pay to do this. [I’d] be taking money away from [my] family,” Maggie said.

“You shouldn’t have to fight for just wanting to tell your story. I have already spent enough time in the courts.”

Campaign organisers have also set up a GoFundMe page in order to cover the out of pocket court expenses for survivors who wish to reclaim the right to use their name.

Photo: Photo by Kat Jayne available here and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.