Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins are two of the most prominent voices in calling for systemic change in how we respond to sexual abuse. In their Women of the Year cover interview with marie claire Australia, the two women talk about their fierce friendship and the role of activism in their lives.
Brittany on Grace
In a lot of ways, Grace and I have coursed the same journey. Meeting someone your own age (we’re both 26 years old and born only a few weeks apart), who understands what you’re going through, the lingering impacts of past trauma and who shares your passion, is truly rare. I think that’s why we became such firm friends so quickly.
Grace is an absolute powerhouse. She has this focused, tenacious energy that I’ve never encountered in another human being. A morning person who will fit in a run, an F45 class and make breakfast before most people even get up. Not only does she speak with such a depth of knowledge about child sexual abuse and gendered violence but she does it in a way that is incredibly accessible to a wide range of people. Grace has the ability to translate government policy or academic research in a way that really resonates with everyday Australians. It’s an incredible gift and something that has already brought about significant changes across the country.
Hands down, my favourite thing about Grace is that she’s completely unafraid of owning every aspect of who she is. There is a beautiful, raw, unfiltered quality about her that I think people find so refreshing. Whether she’s laughing about her now-erased DIY penny tattoo or making pointed jokes about politicians to their faces, Grace has absolutely no pretences about herself. In a world obsessed with perfection, she really embraces the people around her – and herself – for who they truly are. There is no-one I trust more to celebrate my wins with or just ugly cry to. She’s a wonder.
Grace on Brittany
I have huge admiration for Brittany. Funnily enough I’d say she has more grace than I do – I’m a bit faster and looser, with a cheeky sense of humour that sometimes gets me into trouble. But that’s who I am and I believe in authenticity. She has a lot more poise. I’m constantly awed by her diplomacy, even in the face of the unforgivable treatment she’s received by the powers that be.
Brittany and I actually didn’t meet until the day of the National Summit on Women’s Safety in early September this year. But our connection was immediate. I was with my partner, Max, and she was with her partner, David, and we all got along like a house on fire.
Although our stories are quite different, there are some strong parallels, especially when it comes to the institution prioritising its own image over individuals, and the depths they are prepared to sink to. It’s obscene and it’s abuse of power.
Brittany is fiercely intelligent, and her ability to articulate the situation and maintain diplomacy in the face of total ugliness and abhorrent behaviour is incredible. It goes without saying that she’s also amazingly brave.
Doing the marie claire shoot together in Brisbane was so much fun and has cemented our friendship. The four of us have a group chat going now that we’ve called Kevin’s Grandkids (after they caught up with former PM Kevin Rudd).
Brittany has a huge time ahead of her because the odds are stacked against survivors. There’s so many forms of legal silencing and abuse of power. I’m concerned she is not going to get justice but of course that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be believed or supported.
I’m loyal to a fault, so I’ll put my neck on the line for any of my friends and that includes Brittany. She is family to me now.