The price of speaking up pays off for young man
IT IS not uncommon for victims who have been exposed to a traumatic experience to struggle with voicing the injustices they have endured.
However, The Voice of a Survivor is an organisation that is searching for survivors of the Stolen Generation and victims of institutional physical and sexual abuse to help them fight for justice.
From Wednesday, July 3 to Friday, July 5 Queensland State Manager Jacob Little visited Cherbourg to listen to stories from people in the community who have been abused in various institutions.
Mr Little was based at the Muran Djan Centre and worked closely with survivors who came forward to speak with him about their past experiences.
"My role as a consultant in our company is to identify the survivor and write down their story," Mr Little said.
"We'll help them do an intake form and then we'll pass it onto the lawyers.
"Once the lawyers get the documents, they'll give the (survivors) a call and send them some paperwork," he said.
"We help them fill out the paperwork and also type up their statements on behalf of them and pass it back to the lawyers."
Working for his uncle Russell Manser who started the life changing organisation, Mr Little knows personally the impacts after being abused in an institution.
"My uncle asked me to speak up about my case and I have been doing this job for about 10 months now," Mr Little said.
"I suppose that people want to talk to me rather than a lawyer because I know what it's like to be abused.
"I've been to jail, I know the ins and outs of what happens in there."
"I was a young fella, drinking and getting in fights and spent about 5-6 months in the Brisbane Boys Yard and suffered some abuse there," he said.
"Not only am I a survivor, but my uncle's a survivor, my father's a survivor and my mother's a survivor."
Mr Little has been out of the system for quite a while now and credits his role in the organisation as a healing experience towards his own journey.
He said it has motivated him to help more people by sharing their traumas and give them their voice back.
"It's pretty sad because I've seen other families affected like this and I hope that never happens to me, but it has and it does happen.
"So it's good that people can talk about it and also have someone to talk about it with," he said.
Travelling across Queensland and New South Wales, The Voice for a Survivor has positively impacted the lives of many families across a number of regions.
"We had a big class action down in New South Wales where there was one guy who was taking away a lot of families, breaking them up and doing sexual things to them, creating a Stolen Generation," Mr Little said.
"I think the guy has died now, but just to be able to help at least 50 -60 of these people who he affected felt pretty good."
The State Manager said he also likes other moments of his job where people say 'Hey, thank you, I've never spoken with anyone about this in my whole life, it's been on my chest for such a long time.'
Mr Little said it can be a very draining and emotional experience for some.
"I've had people completely breakdown in front of me," he said.
"You just give them a cuddle and say you'll be right mate and try to talk it out with them."
For his valuable work within the community, the mayor of Cherbourg, Arnold Murray even gave Mr Little a Cherbourg Hornetts rugby league jersey as a token of appreciation.
Based out of Brisbane, Mr Little said he hopes to be back in Cherbourg in roughly about a month to be able to connect with more people from within the community and help give them back their voice.