Culture

Fern Champion On Fighting For Sexual Violence Survivors: ‘I Do Have Control Of My Story’

Fern Champion was raped while travelling, and later denied access to trauma therapy back in the UK due to government cuts to women's services. Fern started a hugely successful online petition to raise awareness – and found herself meeting ministers at 10 Downing Street two months later. Here, she tells her story.

By Natalie Cornish

Culture

Fern Champion was raped while travelling, and later denied access to trauma therapy back in the UK due to government cuts to women's services. Fern started a hugely successful online petition to raise awareness – and found herself meeting ministers at 10 Downing Street two months later. Here, she tells her story.

By Natalie Cornish

“I didn’t know what was going to happen [when I started the petition]. I was working with [charity] End Violence Against Women, so I knew I had their support and there was a potential for it to get somewhere. I remember that moment when I announced I was launching this, and then I remember being told, ‘Fern it’s already at 50,000 signatures’ having only gone up a few hours before. My brain just stopped in that moment. It’s a huge moment of, ‘Wow, this is happening’.

“I do look at the comments [on the petition] and the number of people commenting, saying ‘rape and sexual assault happened to me and I couldn’t get support and, in some cases, I still can’t get support’. It speaks to so many different people on so many different levels. Something like this has been needed for such a long time.

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Finding Your Voice is a special photographic series highlighting female activism. You can find out more about Fern’s campaign here and follow her @fernemily93

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If this article brings up any issues for you, or if you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. 

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