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lunedì 3 aprile 2017

"Living with Lilly" Stories of sexual assault

From her platform as a radio host, Lilly encourages and empowers others to share their stories of sexual assault.

Having experienced devastating trauma as a seven year old, Lilly Lyons has defied the odds to become a teenage crusader against sexual violence.
When Lilly first saw a counselor about her abuse, she was asked to play in sand.
She remembers feeling frustrated that after having waited so long to see a professional, she wasn’t given a chance to open up.
For many young people keen to speak about their trauma, a bad counselling experience may have compounded their anxieties. But for Lilly, it planted the seed for a golden idea: a radio show about living with the trauma of sexual assault.  
A few years later, Lilly’s mum, Kim, suggested Lilly get involved with a local council initiative to raise the profile of young people in her local community. And this is where Lilly’s radio career took off.
Today, Lilly’s voice can be heard loud and clear as the host of weekly radio show Living Life with Lilly on 89.3 2GLF, a local radio station in Sydney’s west.
“The power of speaking up is that those people that are relying on young people not to speak up are absolutely annihilated. If you speak up, their power is gone.
“Most of the time it's an older person who hurts a younger person, so it's easier for a younger person to connect with another younger person,” says Lilly.
In 2016, Lilly Lyons was awarded a Pride of Australia Medal for her advocacy raising the voices of child sexual abuse survivors.
“The more young people that can stand up about this and give their voice, the more young people can have that power – because that's exactly what we need.
“For me to know that I'm sharing my story and they can share their story and that we're both feeling safe and connected with each other is what I love to do.
Kim couldn’t be more proud of the advocacy work her daughter is doing. But the early days after Lilly’s assault were dark.  
“Lilly felt it was all her fault and she then felt guilty because I couldn't cope. I went through a lot, and nearly lost her.”
Lilly was struggling to cope herself.
I got a lot of anxiety attacks, I developed OCD, so I would check the locks and doors like seven times a night because I didn't feel safe.
Speaking out was a major turning point for Lilly. But not everyone around her thought she was doing the right thing.
“Some [adults] told me that it wasn't okay to talk about this because they think it's very confronting.”
But the results speak for themselves. Lilly has empowered countless survivors ask for help if they need it, including a Year 12 boy who Lilly supported throughout his court appearances and a 50-year old woman who had been carrying her trauma for over 30 years.
Lilly says, “All they needed was someone to listen. Someone to tell them ‘It's okay, you're not alone.’”
14-year-old radio host reaches out to other sexual assault survivors 30 MAR 2017  Marcus Costello, The Feed

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