ON October 9, Mount George resident Tanya Colli will travel to Sydney to tell a royal commissioner her own brave story of survival.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established on January 11, 2013 and has recently been holding private and public sessions with survivors around the country.
Tanya said she is a survivor of child sexual abuse within a religious institution. Until recently the 65-year-old had not spoken publically about her ordeal.
But Tanya opened up to the Chronicle last month when she attended an information session in Taree conducted by the NSW Government's Victim Services.
It has been an emotional journey for Tanya who said attending the session was difficult. "I was a trembling mess," she said.
But for Tanya she feels speaking openly about her experiences is something that has to be done.
"There are thousands of us and it's time it stopped," she said.
Tanya is determined to be heard and help other survivors.
She is even thinking of starting a support group locally. "If we don't stand together they will beat us," she said.
Tanya is concerned she is the only local to go before the Royal Commission. She thinks this is because many people are scared to speak out. She urges others to make contact with the Royal commission and to share their story too.
"Come forward, say what happened to you," she said.
It has taken many years but finally Tanya carries no shame. "For a long time I thought it was my shame, but with the right counselling I now know it is theirs," she said.
The Royal Commission understands that making contact with the commission can be very challenging for survivors.
It may be the first time you have told anyone about the abuse, or it may bring back memories which are very hard to deal with.
If someone has supported you in the past you might want to connect with them again for help.
Alternatively if you need help to tell your story or to cope with the feelings you are experiencing a list of support services that can assist you is available on the website www.childabuseroyal commission.gov.au.
To contact the Royal Commission directly phone 1800 099 340.