Former Australian of the Year, child sex abuse survivor and lawyer Grace Tame has announced that she is engaged to longtime partner Max Heerey.
Ms Tame took to social media to announce that she had said yes to her partner’s proposal, sharing photos of the intimate setting where he dropped the knee while the couple went for a bike ride.
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“I said, ‘OATH, YES!!!…I love you forever and ever, angel man 🤍😭✨,'” she wrote on Twitter and Instagram.
“We’ll be wearing helmets at the wedding too, don’t worry,” she added, referring to her cycling attire and that of her partners when the proposal took place.
Ms Tame was repeatedly groomed and sexually assaulted by her 58-year-old teacher when she was a vulnerable pupil at 15-year-old St Michael’s Collegiate girls’ school in Hobart.
Her attacker was arrested and convicted of the misdemeanor of “maintaining a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 17”, a crime which Tame said needed to be renamed due to his misleading use of the word “relationship” for abuse.
The attacker was also convicted of possession of child pornography.
Ms Tame came into the public spotlight during the #LetHerSpeak campaign in 2019, led by journalist, survivor and advocate Nina Funnell.
The campaign highlighted Tasmania’s Evidence Act which had banned the publication of information identifying sexual assault survivors, even if they had consented to publication, since 2001.
This law prevented Ms Tame and other survivors from speaking publicly about their experiences, even as Ms Tame’s attacker bragged about her crime on social media.
Ms Tame and Ms Funnell’s work alongside Marque Lawyers and End Rape on Campus Australia was aimed at overturning this law and a similar law in the Northern Territory.
The campaign has drawn global support from celebrities and leaders of the #MeToo movement.
In late 2019, Ms Tame spoke publicly for the first time after the campaign successfully secured a court order on her behalf through the Supreme Court of Tasmania, granting Ms Tame exemption from the law. on the gag.
She was the first female sexual assault victim in the state to obtain a court order allowing her to speak about her experience.
In January 2021, Ms Tame received the Australian Woman of the Year award and launched calls for legal and social reform of sexual abuse and violence against women.
A year later, in January 2022, after 12 months of advocacy, Ms Tame said there was still work to be done.
“Although I did not choose the award, I will always be grateful for this honor. Changes have been made before, are happening now, and will continue to grow in volume, every day,” she wrote.
Her now-fiancé Mr Heerey also applauded Ms Tame for her plea, saying she still had a ‘brave face’.
“Just as you finally find peace after a rough start in life through no fault of your own. You have been ripped from that peace and unwittingly thrown into traumatic chaos,” Mr. Heerey wrote.
“You have been expected to speak every day for the past year about the horrible things that happened to you and demanded to find solutions so that it does not happen again…
“It hurts you. The lights go out at night and you don’t sleep. But you got up every day, put on a brave face and a smile and carried on. You did and continue to do a job unbelievable. It’s time for a break, you’ve earned it. I’m so proud of you.”