To assist our broken Ballarat community move forward from the years of historical abuse by many institutions, I have created a Go Fund Me page to raise funds to build a memorial in Ballarat somewhere to remember those lost. I believe that a memorial should be built in memory of those victims who have been lost, the survivors battling with their demons every day and fighting the good fight and as a place for the multigenerational victims of this abuse to go to remember their loved ones. These are the men and women who have made things right. We have memorials to honour the fallen victims of war. These abuse victims fought and are fighting for much longer than any war that has been. And many losing their lives in the process. There are other memorials in Australia for the same reason, why do we not have one in Ballarat - the epicentre of Church abuse.
I’m not sure what I want the memorial to look like - possibly a reflection pool with small beams of light around that shine day and night. What I do know is that it should not be in the bustling centre of town. A peaceful area in the beautiful Botanic Gardens could be fitting as a place for reflection, hope and remembrance. All funds will be transparently donated towards the building of a memorial. I hope that the local Ballarat community and world can get behind this cause to assist in families, victims and survivors alike to take one little step at moving forward in the healing process
Our story is below:
My 4 year old daughter recently had Grandparents Day at her kindergarten - but she is minus a grandfather due to the inactions of the Catholic Church. My father is buried in Section K, Row 18, Grave 47 of the Ballarat Cemetery. His name is, not was, Peter Curran. He was one of the first victims of sexual abuse at the hands of 3 Catholic priests of Ballarat to report the abuse to authorities and fight for what was right. Crusading for justice and change in the 90s, he was able to lock his offenders up, keeping other children safe from harm - but sadly was being a loud voice before his time. Whilst the survivors are living with the memories of these atrocities every day, family members of the deceased are also haunted.
When my father was a child he reported the abuse of 3 priests in Ballarat - he was met with anger, disbelief and in turn beaten for ‘lying’ about his perpetrators. The inaction and continued abuse that happened over many years to dad and his mates in both primary and senior years led to his spiral into depression, anger and in the end his death. I was 21 when I had to help my mother select a coffin, my youngest sister was only 8 at the time. This should not have been. Crusading for justice and change in the 90s, he was able to lock his offenders up, keeping other children safe from harm.
I believe that now is the time for the world and Ballarat community to move forward. Too long have we been in the shadows of grief, the ‘what ifs’ and pain. Yes we need a centre of healing for all victims of abuse, regardless of the nature, to support and assist them in anyway we can. But we also must not forget the victims and voices of the past who fought for so long, before they were believed and the issues of abuse were acknowledged by the world as wrong. At times Dad was an angry, deeply depressed man due to the atrocities he suffered as a child. But there were also glimpses of light that shone through which we hold on to in our memories.
This is how he and so many victims should be remembered. As pillars of light and strength in our community who stood up for what was right, to stop this evil continuing. He always said he can’t fix the past, but he can sure stop it happening to someone else’s son or daughter.
I don’t visit the cemetery; it brings back too many painful memories. I hope to take my children to this memorial and tell them of his bravery in days, months and years to come.
Thank you for your support.
- Kate Hearn
- Briony Black
- Penance Event proceeds. cassino
- Liz Spillane
- Eileen Seller