Tarana Burke, Founder of the Me Too Movement, live at the Collingwood Town Hall

Content warning: sexual violence
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Above: timelapse video of an illustration by Sarah Firth (www.sarahthefirth.com) captured live on Mon 18 Nov 2019. Follow Sarah’s incredible work on socials: @sarahthefirth

What an experience! Our event with Tarana Burke on Monday night was truly an exceptional moment; one we are so grateful to have shared with you. 800 people gathered at Collingwood Town Hall to hear Me Too Founder Tarana Burke speaking alongside Dr. Kyllie Cripps (proud Pallawah woman and violence prevention expert); Kate Jenkins (Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner); Tracey Spicer AM (journalist); and Mary Crooks AO (panel moderator and Executive Director, Victorian Women’s Trust).

We heard about what we can do for the movement to sustain momentum (and also sustain ourselves); pushing back against the push back; disclosing safely; the work that still needs to be done to centre women of colour; and how we can remain hopeful for the future.

We left emboldened and humbled. Thank you for joining us in this experience. If you weren’t able to be there, you can still watch it here

If this event has brought up any issues for you, help is available: 

→ Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) 1800 806 292
→ 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732
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Here’s a few of our highlights from the night (full transcript coming soon): 

Tarana Burke, Founder of the Me Too Movement:

“When people ask if I’m surprised that Me Too took off in the way that it did — my answer is always no.” 

“If you’re not a survivor, you know one. It is deeply pervasive. If you only takes parts of sexual violence you miss the whole picture and if we’re going to truly talk about the magnitude of sexual violence we have to talk about violent language, violent interactions, institutional violence, state-sanctioned violence, familial violence… all of this creates a spectrum and we need to look at the entire thing.”

“When you have 12 million people respond to a singular hashtag in 24 hours – that’s just a drop in the bucket because for every person who put #MeToo on the internet there’s probably 5 more who couldn’t do it.” 

Tarana Burke, Founder of the Me Too Movement, speaking on stage at the Collingwood Town Hall with Mary Crooks AO (Executive Director, Victorian Women’s Trust) on left; and Dr. Kyllie Cripps (proud Pallawah woman and violence prevention expert) on the right | Images: Breeana Dunbar

In response to an audience question submitted by Denise from Cranbourne, “what is the one thing we can do each day/week to support the #MeToo movement?” Tarana said, 

Think about what your day to day life is — there are so many gaps around us.

Ask questions, be curious.

Don’t believe everything you read in the news about Me Too. Do your own research.

When you go to work tomorrow, go read your workplace policies on sexual harassment.

Think about the ways you interact with life that contributes to rape culture.

“Don’t think there’s any contribution that’s too small because there’s not […] this family Christmas when your crotchety aunt or uncle says “this Me Too Movement has gone too far”, be the voice that says “No. I know the truth about this movement.”

Award winning singer-songwriter Jess Ribeiro opened and closed the event | Images: Breeana Dunbar

Right: Duré Dara OAM (Board Member, Victorian Women’s Trust) Left: Leanne Miller (Executive Director, Koorie Women Mean Business; and Board Member, Victorian Women’s Trust) | Images: Breeana Dunbar

Duré Dara OAM (Board Member, Victorian Women’s Trust)

“We will never walk in the work that we do for women and girls without walking with Aboriginal women in this state, if nothing else.” 

“It’s about working together outside of ourselves, about learning the taste and smell of our relationship and who we are separately and together. We’ve got to do the work… what are you doing in your pillow talk? What are you doing in bathrooms? What are you doing in your living rooms? Start the conversation with you children. Love them enough to let them have an understanding so they know and they know what questions to ask.”

Leanne Miller (Executive Director, Koorie Women Mean Business) 

“When I think about my grandfather’s country I think about the number of times people have heard “Wominjeka” and note that it is welcome, but it’s also about challenging you [and asking] what is your intention? We know tonight the intention of the event is for you to feel comfortable, give and listen to some amazing women.”

From left: Mary Crooks AO; Tarana Burke; Dr. Kyllie Cripps; Kate Jenkins; and Tracey Spicer AM | Images: Breeana Dunbar


Mary Crooks AO (Executive Director, Victorian Women’s Trust)

“We are nothing in the feminist movement unless we are taking action and going deeper than talk.”

“Hell hath no fury like patriarchy scorned.”

Dr. Kyllie Cripps (proud pallawah woman, Family Violence Researcher & Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales)

“How do we make sure that when we are providing support for those young ones, how do we make sure we are providing support to their mums, aunties and grandmas? This has to be a community of healing.” 

“When someone turns up to a police station [to report an assault] it takes an immense, immeasurable amount of courage.” 

“It’s about how we get people’s stories to be heard – particular those at the intersection of multiple layers of oppression.” 

Kate Jenkins (Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner)

“We often need to educate to push the conversation forward. It doesn’t need to be an argument…My focus is improving the conversation and the information.” 

Tracey Spicer AM (Journalist & Co-Founder of NOW)

“You’ve gotta look at the long game instead of the short game. The long game bends towards justice.” 

Whether you joined us at Collingwood Town Hall or watched from home, thank you for all your support which allows us to create accessible events for all kinds of folks. Huge thanks to our live stream partner, Emma Whiting Travel, for their dedicated support ensuring that this important conversation with renowned activist Tarana Burke is widely broadcasted.

Missed it? Catch up on the conversation and watch the video here

Proudly presented by the Victorian Women’s Trust in partnership with the Sydney Peace Foundation.

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