Grace Tame has given empowerment to survivors of child sexual abuse through being named Australian of the Year, advocates say.
Ms Tame was awarded the honour on Monday night - the first Tasmanian to receive the award since it was first bestowed in 1960.
As a 15-year-old battling an eating disorder, she was groomed and repeatedly raped by her 58-year-old maths teacher Nicolaas Bester while at an elite Hobart school.
AUSTRALIA DAY 2021 IN NORTHERN TASMANIA:
Bester served less than three years in jail for his crimes.
He was thrown back in jail a short time after his release when he bragged about his abuse on an online platform.
In more recent years, Ms Tame led a call for an anomaly to be struck from state laws which prevented victims of child sexual abuse to publicly identify themselves and speak about their experiences.
Engender Equality chief executive Alina Thomas said having Ms Tame convey her story to a national audience could lead other survivors of sexual abuse to identify with her experience and find encouragement to speak out.
"What this is saying to other victim-survivors across Australia is that they are valued, that they're credible, that they will be heard and listened to and believed," she said.
Ms Thomas said a perpetrator of sexual abuse relied on their victim's silence and self-shame.
"This sends a message to perpetrators that they will be held to account," she said.
"Victim-survivor voices have been eroded and undermined for a very long time."
Ms Thomas said there continued to be an unfair perception within the community that women made up or embellished stories of abuse to gain advantage.
"That idea in itself stops people from coming forward," she said.
Ms Thomas said women might also find themselves feeling powerless if their perpetrator held a powerful or highly regarded position, as was the case with Ms Tame.
Laurel House provides a range of services for survivors of sexual abuse.
Laurel House president Jess Greene said Ms Tame's persistence for law reform which had culminated in the top honour empowered those who needed it most.
"Grace has proudly claimed that there is no shame in being a survivor," she said.
"She is right. There's no shame in coming forward and getting help.
"Laurel House is where victims become survivors."
Labor leader Rebecca White said Ms Tame had rightly been recognised for leading landmark law reform.
"Grace has given a voice to the survivors of sexual abuse in Tasmania," Ms White said.
"Her achievements are powerful and allow those who were previously silenced to now be heard."
Attorney-General Elise Archer said the award was recognition of the courage shown by Ms Tame to speak out about child sexual abuse.
"It takes advocates like Grace Tame to display their enormous courage, to come forward and to not only seek law reform but raise awareness."
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