A MAJOR new project to acknowledge the survivors of sexual assault has opened to ideas from the Ballarat community.
The Continuous Voices Arts project was launched on Friday and anyone impacted by sexual abuse is encouraged to contribute.
The ultimate aim is to have a permanent space "signifying healing and hope".
Blake Curran, whose father Peter Curran was one of the first people to speak out about abuse, said he hoped the project would help assist in the healing process.
"In my mind, I envisage ... a memorial but also a space where all these creative pieces can be a part of ... so the voices are acknowledged, but also a space where people can go and reflect," he said.
Workshops will take place for people's ideas and creative input on the design but Mr Curran also encouraged individual submissions.
To me, this is no different to a war memorial. This is a big situation in Ballarat and it needs to be acknowledgedBlake Curran
"If you would like to write a song at home but have it part of the project, you can still submit that," he said.
"To me, this is no different to a war memorial. This is a big situation in Ballarat and it needs to be acknowledged."
Mr Curran, a teacher at Ballarat Grammar School, launched a Gofundme page this year to raise money for a permanent memorial dedicated to those who have suffered abuse.
All the money pledged will go towards the project. He said the story of his father, who died when Blake was aged 21, inspired him to call for funding.
"He was abused by three priests here in Ballarat," Mr Curran said. "[He] and one of his friends Stephen Woods were among the first people to get the ball rolling, getting [the priests] locked away."
"His big message was that he didn't want it to happen to other kids."
Mr Curran's father experienced depression, anger and a premature death as a result of the abuse he suffered.
Opening it up as broadly as possible to anyone impacted by sexual, indirectly or directly, is a really good start. Hopefully we are making it as inclusive as we possibly canDeputy mayor Belinda Coates
The project is aimed at everybody who has suffered from sexual abuse in the city, both directly and indirectly, whether in an institution, family, or elsewhere.
The City of Ballarat will also be contributing $50,000 to the project, which is being run in partnership with the City of Ballarat Art gallery, Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA), Beyond Empathy, Care Leavers Australasia Network, Compassionate Ballarat and Loud Fence.
The deputy mayor Cr Belinda Coates said: "It's an important project for so many different reasons. It's such a broad issue and impacts on so many people's lives."
Cr Coates said it had been discussed for some time and there was likely to be a lengthy process before the project was finalised.
"Opening it up as broadly as possible to anyone impacted by sexual, indirectly or directly, is a really good start," she said. "Hopefully we are making it as inclusive as we possibly can."
"As a city that has signed the Compassionate Cities charter, it really is something as a city we need to respond to.
"It's not just council's responsibility but certainly we have a place to play in facilitating those discussions."
The shape and location of the public memorial should be decided in 2021 as a result of feedback received over the next 18 months.
- All those interested in contributing should visit https://www.creativeballarat.com.au/continuousvoices for full details.
- An exhibition inspired by the Royal Commission into Clergy Sexual Abuse will also be held at the Art Gallery of Ballarat between July and October 2020.
- Affected by this story? Call Ballarat CASA Crisis Care line on 1800 806 292; Lifeline 13 11 14; Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 Respect (1800 737 732).