Australian of the Year Grace Tame has made history by becoming the first non-celebrity to appear on the cover of Maire Claire.
The 26-year-old is a sexual abuse survivor and has been heralded as a game-changing voice in the national conversation about sexual assault and harassment.
Marie Claire Editor, Nicky Briger, said one of the reasons Ms Tame was chosen to be the first non-celebrity to be on the cover of the magazine is because she is a “true change-maker”.
“Anyone who’s heard Grace speak is instantly moved by the power of her compassion and convictions. But beyond just words, she’s a true change-maker who’s shining a light on child sex abuse and the urgent need for action and legislative change,” she said.
“As a brand that’s continually striving to educate, empower and inspire Australian women, Grace represents our core values better than anyone. I’m absolutely thrilled she agreed to ‘grace’ our cover and, in the process, make Marie Claire history.”
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During her interview with Marie Claire, Ms Tame described herself as a “tiny domino” who has helped set off a larger chain reaction.
“People are sometimes deterred from action or doubt the value of their contribution in change,” she said.
“But there’s a whole set of dominoes waiting to be pushed over. Just be that one domino. Your tiny little contribution has enormous catalytic potential.”
Ms Tame was 15 years old when she was groomed and raped by her 58-year-old high school maths teacher.
He was found guilty and jailed for his crimes. But Ms Tame, unlike the perpetrator and the media, was not allowed to speak out about the incident.
For nine years, she was silenced by state gag laws, which prevent all sexual assault survivors from self-identifying in media.
In 2017, Ms Tame contacted journalist Nina Funnell and in November 2018 news.com.au launched the #LetHerSpeak campaign in partnership with The Mercury, End Rape on Campus Australia and Marque Lawyers.
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In the first story that was shared, Ms Tame was only able to be named as an anonymous Jane Doe, due to the strict gag laws.
With news.com.au’s help, Ms Tame took her fight to be named to the Supreme Court and in August 2019 she won and was allowed to tell her own story for the first time.
Several days later, it was announced that the gag laws would be repealed.
Ms Tame was named the 2021 Australian of the Year for her “extraordinary courage” and for using her voice to raise public awareness about the effects of sexual violence and institutional abuse.
“All survivors of child sexual abuse — this is for us,” Ms Tame declared triumphantly after winning the award.
“I lost my virginity to a paedophile. I was 15, anorexic. He was 58. He was my teacher. For months he groomed me and then abused me almost every day: Before school, after school, in my uniform, on the floor. I didn’t know who I was.
“Publicly, he described his crimes as ‘awesome’ and ‘enviable’. Publicly, I was silenced by law. Not any more. Australia, we’ve come a long way but there is still more work to do in a lot of areas.”
The May issue of Marie Claire is now on sale.