To the young woman who wrote the letter shared by The Advertiser,
I’m sorry that we, as a society, have let you down so badly.
I’m sorry that we have allowed this insidious culture to flourish; the culture that allows others to treat a person the way you were treated.
I’m sorry that what happened to you – sexual assault – was allowed to be labelled “bullying”, thereby denying you adequate justice.
I am so incredibly sorry.
But I want to thank you.
I want to thank you for speaking out.
I want to thank you for your courage.
I want to thank you for your determination to finish your education.
I want to thank you for not giving up, because the world needs people like you. People who are strong, articulate and brave – people who will speak out and say this is not okay.
To your family, I want to say thank you. Thank you for raising and supporting such an extraordinary young woman. Thank you for fighting for her.
Education and safety are fundamental human rights, and you were denied those rights by a society that doesn’t take these rights, bullying or sexual assault anywhere nearly as seriously as they should. You deserved better, and we let you down.
You won’t be known as “that girl who got tied to the tree”.
You will be known as someone with amazing strength. You will be known as someone who is eloquent and intelligent. You will be known as someone who is, above all else, brave.
You will be known as a survivor.