Grace Tame posts Instagram birthday message in support of ‘national hero’ Brittany Higgins

It’s Brittany Higgins’ birthday today. We spoke privately before and she agreed for me to share the following words with you.

(For the past week I have been reflecting deeply on events that have rocked an already turbulent industry. For many in or near this industry, these could lead to re-traumatization and/or new trauma.

In general, social media galleries are curated highlights that don’t reflect what usually happens offline.

That’s why I wondered if it was appropriate to share these nuanced thoughts here, in this context.

It depresses me how flippantly the majority consumes disturbing news these days.

Fast devices simultaneously reduce our collective attention span, desensitize us to delicate content, and push our boundaries.

We are conditioned to move from one focus point to another so quickly that it is a miracle that we can absorb anything completely at all. This is an increasingly artificial world we live in.

So many constructs are being redesigned by the invisible arm of technology: time, personal space, common courtesy, speech patterns, and more.

The aftermath of shock in online spaces often feels like a virtual stampede that leaves the subjects alone in the dust.

I’ve seen this happen to Britt repeatedly.

I’ve seen the well-being of Britt and others assumed, and assumptions are typically far removed from reality.

I am constantly weighing the shortcomings of social media against its benefits.

The voice of doubt is getting louder, but it is almost impossible to reach the digitally dependent masses in any other way.

In such circumstances, who is to say what the right time or place is?

We all seem damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I can only speak from my own experience, but I believe this clichéd but very real dichotomy is amplified for people in the spotlight – almost to the point of paralysis.

Excessive multidirectional pressure creates a paradoxical sense of detached entrapment that can bring us to the brink of self-destruction.)

Happy birthday, dear Brittany. warrior. Human. My friend.

The first image bears no resemblance to the reality of that day. It was fear, anxiety, exhaustion, invasion of personal space and fifteen minutes spent in the bathroom only to decompress over dinner. They were tears.

The role is nothing like what it sometimes seems. That’s the truth of behind-the-scenes public life, and life in general: it’s not glamorous. It’s cruel. For every person.

In the past 18 months of getting to know Brittany Higgins personally, as a close friend, I’ve had the honor of seeing a side of her I rarely see in digital or print media. Let that be a lesson.

Every salacious article I see about my boyfriend I can’t help but take personally. I have to think hard and ask: what is the safest, most constructive course of action – as a friend, as a lawyer, as an individual?

On the one hand, I feel obligated to speak up every time.

However, falling into the bait risks legitimizing sensationalism or triggering further hostile coverage that could hurt both of us, and even the greater cause – even though our stories are very different and this distinction needs to be addressed and enforced.

In addition, the news cycle will always outshine any individual.

We must hope and trust that most readers will think critically. Unfortunately some don’t.

A vocal minority engage in online gossip, spreading disinformation and/or deliberately misrepresenting stereotypes.

This is why stories and data have always been the tools of choice for maintaining power and coercive control; both can be easily manipulated and widely distributed.

Anyone who claims words can’t do serious damage has never been the target of an insidious nationwide character assassination campaign like Brittany.

In the past 18 months of getting to know Brittany Higgins, I’ve been moved by a person who is thoughtful, measured, reserved and self-effacing.

I am impressed and floored by intelligence, kindness, vulnerability and determination to keep fighting for self and others in the face of long layered injustice and heightened relentless criticism.

She has provided support, comfort and strength to myself and others through some of the darkest, loneliest times. She is indeed a light.

Awards and fleeting public recognition can be useful vehicles of change. However, they are not endpoints, goals, solutions or sources of pain relief. Sometimes they are the opposite.

I have been an activist for almost six years. Less than a third of that time has been on a public platform. Less than a third.

And while I’m so thankful for the voice I have, there’s no question that healing is so much harder to do with eyes watching your every move.

Let me be crystal clear lest the media I know take my posts out of context: this is not a complaint. This is a statement of fact.

There are those who love you for reflected glory and access.

There are people who love to hate you; who examine, humiliate and moralize you at every opportunity from the comfort of their armchairs or privileged paid positions.

They say it takes an army, and it certainly does, but at the end of the day, you and you alone are taking the bullets on the battlefield of your personal trauma.

While diverse voices face additional layers of systemic drawbacks that we must collectively fight to dismantle, it is also a fact that every human being puts themselves at risk if they choose to open up and share their story publicly.

The suffering of one does not detract from that of the other.

Vulnerability really is the greatest strength.

We have a long way to go in reshaping the broken binary principles that underlie both the justice system and the media complex.

We live in a society that disproportionately cringes over and forgives alleged and convicted abusers; one that questions and demonizes anyone who dares challenge the status quo. We are ready to live in fear.

We still have a long way to go, but we are not giving up.

Brittany Higgins has taken every step of her excruciating journey under a microscope; with a nation breathing down its neck. This is no sinecure.

I’m not a judge or a jury, but I’m someone who’s also repeatedly walked into the firing line — often alone — and that’s not for the faint hearted. I say this not as a point-scoring exercise, but as another statement of fact.

However, it is not for this reason that I support Brittany. Just because she’s a decent person.

I support Brittany because I feel sorry for her.

Brittany Higgins is a national hero.

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