Abuse Survivors Tie Ribbons in Rome
March 2, 2016
Child sex abuse survivors in Rome to see Cardinal George Pell give evidence to a royal commission have visited a refuge for Catholic Australian pilgrims to tie ribbons in support of those who suffered abuse.
The survivors, who were sexually abused as children by pedophile priests in the Victorian diocese of Ballarat, tied coloured ribbons to a window of Domus Australia, a guest house and support centre for pilgrims set up with the cardinal's backing.
The ribbon tying is part of the Loud Fence campaign started by three women in Ballarat to show support for survivors when they went to court to confront and testify against their abusers.
Survivors' group spokesman David Ridsdale, who was abused by his uncle and serial pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, said the women "decided it should be loud and there should be no more silence".
Loud Fence has now become a worldwide movement.
"Ribbons are tied all round the world as a sign to people like us, to survivors of abuse, that people care and they listen and they want to help us," Mr Ridsdale said.
The survivors on Monday heard Cardinal Pell give evidence by videolink to the child abuse royal commission sitting in Sydney, saying he did not know of Gerald Ridsdale's offending against children.
In the early 1980s, Cardinal Pell was on a committee charged with advising the Ballarat bishop about priest transfers.
But on Monday he accused then bishop Ronald Mulhearns of lying and deception by not revealing the reason Ridsdale had to be moved between parishes - his sex offending against children.
The testimony angered abuse survivors who find it unbelievable that Cardinal Pell would not have known of Ridsdale's offending when it was common knowledge in the Ballarat diocese parishes where he worked.
On Tuesday at Domus Australia, abuse survivor Phil Nagle said if Cardinal Pell had any honour "he'll make sure these ribbons stay here and he'll show us the courtesy of not coming here and tying one himself".