Grace Tame hits out at media for publishing old photo of her with a bong

Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame says drug abuse can be a coping mechanism for young sex-assault victims. <i> Photo: AAP</i>

Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame says drug abuse can be a coping mechanism for young sex-assault victims. Photo: AAP Photo AAP

Grace Tame has written an open letter calling out the media for publishing an old photograph of her with a bong which she labelled an “unnecessary shaming stunt”.

“To every media outlet who sought to discredit me by publishing THAT photo,” the former Australian of the Year began the lengthy sequence of posts on Twitter.

“Although my humour and strength remain intact, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t let me down.”

Ms Tame said her status as a prominent campaigner for victims of sexual assault should have made media outlets think twice before publishing the snapshot.

“Not just as an individual, but more so as an advocate of the survivor community,” she continued.

Ms Tame went on to say she had been consistently and “completely transparent about all the demons I’ve battled in the aftermath of child sexual abuse, drug addiction, self-harm, anorexia and PTSD, among others”.

“You just clearly haven’t been listening,” she tweeted.

The 2014 photo which was taken from a now-deleted post on her Instagram account showed a smiling Ms Tame cradling a large bong while seated beside an unidentified man who appeared to be preparing marijuana for smoking.

Surviving abuse ‘can be ugly’

Grace Tame has called for an open and honest discussion on sexual abuse and trauma. Photo: Getty

Ms Tame called for an “open and honest” discussion about child sexual abuse in this country and about trauma and what that can look like.

“It can be ugly. It can look like drugs. Like self-harm, skipping school, getting impulsive tattoos and all kinds of other unconscious, self-destructive, maladaptive coping mechanisms,” she wrote.

“Whilst I do not seek to glorify, sanitise or normalise any of these things, I also do not seek to shame or judge survivors for ANY of their choices.”

Ms Tame said on a brighter note, the publication of the bong photo had resulted in a record amount of donations to the not-for-profit Grace Tame Foundation.

“On that note, (it) is with a swollen heart that I wish to thank the legions of strangers and friends alike from all over Australia who showed up and showed out for survivors by calling out the unnecessary shaming stunt on Monday,” she wrote.

“It means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to many other survivors as well.

“Our foundation received a record amount of donations that day, bringing us one step closer to a future free from the sexual abuse of children and others.

“Now that’s a story worth publishing.”

Ms Tame noted there were “survivors out there who are terrified of seeking help because they’re afraid they’ll be blamed for what has happened to them”.

“They are afraid they’ll be chastised for their coping strategies instead of being offered support and treated for the cause of their suffering.”

She went on to say in reference to the image that survivors fear authorities will zero in on substance use instead of the wider complexities of psychological manipulation, which are “much harder to prove and explain”.

-with AAP

Topics: Grace Tame
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