Home » Podcast » Harrison James on being a survivor, becoming an advocate and the #YourReferenceAin’tRelevant campaign.

Harrison James on being a survivor, becoming an advocate and the #YourReferenceAin’tRelevant campaign.

In this week’s episode, Josh chats with Harrison James who was the Winner of the 2023 Spirit Super Connecting Communities Award at the 7News Young Achiever Awards for NSW & ACT.

*Content Warning*: This episode includes a discussion about child sexual abuse. Listener discretion is advised.

Harrison James is a survivor of child sexual abuse and is now an advocate for other survivors. He was the co-founder of the Your Reference Ain’t Relevant campaign that is petitioning to the NSW government to remove the provision of character references for perpetrators of child sexual abuse in the sentencing procedure. Harrison was also a key collaborator for Safe Sounds, Australia’s first sexual assault awareness music festival.

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[00:00:08] Christine

Welcome to Inspirational Australians, where we share stories of Australians making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. We at inspirational Australians acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Bunurong people of Kulin Nation as the traditional owners and custodians of the lands and waterways on which this podcast is produced.  We pay our respect to elders, past and present,  and those who are emerging and extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. At Inspirational Australians, we are inspired by the world’s oldest living culture and pay homage to their rich storytelling history. When we share stories on our podcast.

[00:00:58] Josh

Thank you very much,  and I’m excited to welcome today’s guest. Someone that I met at the New South Wales

[00:01:06] Josh

ACT gala presentation dinner for the 7News Young Achiever Awards in Sydney at the Fullerton hotel,

[00:01:12] Josh

the winner of the Spirit Super connecting communities award. Twenty twenty three saints, Harrison James. And he’s

[00:01:19] Josh

a child sexual abuse survivor and an advocate for survivors. Harrison is founder of

[00:01:24] Josh

the Your Reference Ain’t Relevant campaign. Aiming to improve the provision of

[00:01:28] Josh

good character references for perpetrators of child sexual abuse in the sentencing procedure. Now,

[00:01:33] Josh

Harrison’s Petition for this will go to New South Wales parliamentary debate in

[00:01:37] Josh

August. So by the time this episode is live, that will be

[00:01:40] Josh

a Petition will be up and ready to go. So tell us all about the campaign about

[00:01:45] Josh

Harrison’s important work and authority. Harrison welcome. How are you

[00:01:49] Josh


[00:01:49] Harrison

Hey, hey, thank you for having me. I

[00:01:51] Harrison

really, really appreciate it Josh. Yeah,  it’s awesome to have a chat.

[00:01:57] Josh

It’s a pleasure mate.  So Harrison yeah,

[00:02:00] Josh

great to have you on now, can you tell us a little bit, you know,

[00:02:03] Josh

obviously I mentioned the bio there. The that You’re Reference Ain’t Relevant. I

[00:02:07] Josh

think that’s a really good place to start.

[00:02:09] Josh

Can you

[00:02:09] Josh

tell us,  I mean I’ve got two questions here. Firstly, tell us

[00:02:12] Josh

a bit more about it. And secondly, how do you get something like this to

[00:02:19] Josh

a parliamentary debate because that is so interesting.

[00:02:21] Harrison

Yeah,  of course. So I started the your reference that Relevant campaign with my friend

[00:02:27] Harrison

and fellow architect, Jared gruss in May of this year.

[00:02:31] Harrison

There was obviously a build up to that,

[00:02:32] Harrison

but we were planning and making sure all our lives were in order. But yeah,

[00:02:38] Harrison

we started, we met with greens MP Abigail Boyd who’s

[00:02:44] Harrison

a member of the legislative council here in New South Wales. So the upper house of parliament,

[00:02:49] Harrison

of the New South Wales state parliament. And we essentially met with her and just had

[00:02:54] Harrison

a chat about this sort of Strange quirk in the law that I recognised. Where convicted

[00:03:02] Harrison

paedophiles able to use good character references if they didn’t meet their chart,

[00:03:10] Harrison

that the victim in the sort of so that they’re an obvious person of

[00:03:17] Harrison

good standing in the community and they’ve met their child. They’ve met the victim

[00:03:21] Harrison

through that good standing. Then they’re not allowed to use them for any other sort

[00:03:27] Harrison

of convicted Pedophile. They are allowed to use them.

[00:03:29] Harrison

So in cases like mine where

[00:03:31] Harrison

my stepmother did what she did to me for many, many years,

[00:03:35] Harrison

she would be entitled to use her good character references with the current law.

[00:03:42] Harrison

And our position is that it is never appropriate for

[00:03:45] Harrison

a child sex offender to utilise. Good character provisions in sentencing in an effort to reduce the sentence.

[00:03:55] Josh

Strange quirk?

[00:03:57] Harrison

Yeah,  definitely. So I mean the terms good character and Pedophile by definition they

[00:04:04] Harrison

cancel each other out. They don’t really work. So that’s helpful argument and yeah,  I sat down with

[00:04:11] Harrison

a few different lawyers to sort of come up with the legislation and and what we

[00:04:16] Harrison

needed to ask for in the Petition. And then yet we just ran that Petition through

[00:04:20] Harrison

with Abigail and it’s been open to signatures since May. And yeah,

[00:04:26] Harrison

since then we’ve just been working with different journalists and trying to get the

[00:04:30] Harrison

word out so we can get some say some action on it

[00:04:35] Josh

or something. I think that’s one thing. I misunderstood so that the Petition is live now.

[00:04:40] Harrison

That’s right. Yeah. So it plays on both. Yeah, it closes on August first.

[00:04:47] Harrison

So you can, if you’re

[00:04:49] Harrison

a New South Wales resident,  people can head to the parliament of New South Wales website on the legislative

[00:04:54] Harrison

council page. And yes, on that it takes less than a minute to sign. And yeah,

[00:05:00] Harrison

it’s a good thing and that will be debated in August. Yep.

[00:05:05] Josh

That’s so yes,  obviously to get that to a debate,

[00:05:08] Josh

you have to have an MP’s kind of support. Is that right?  That’s correct, you talking about?

[00:05:14] Harrison

Yeah, that’s Abigail Abigail was representing a Petition and then she’ll take it to parliamentary debate and some motion

[00:05:23] Harrison

and yeah, it’ll trigger a debate in late August. We think it’s going to go ahead. So yeah. Petition court,

[00:05:30] Harrison

August third, and then late August it will go head to the

[00:05:34] Josh

Yeah. So you raise a good point there about, you know,  the word good character or the term good character

[00:05:40] Harrison


[00:05:41] Josh

Yeah. Pedophile and how obviously that clearly clashes. Yeah. You know, it’s obviously such

[00:05:47] Josh

a good point.

[00:05:48] Josh

Any parent out there, you know, that’s narrowing it,

[00:05:52] Josh

anyone out there really listening to this can obviously have their own thoughts on

[00:05:56] Josh

that and you know, people, it’s a strong such a strong topic for me. It’s,

[00:06:03] Josh

it raises alarm bells that someone could get a good character reference. And then that, you know,

[00:06:07] Josh

and I’m just imagining this scenario in my head that they can then, you know,

[00:06:11] Josh

volunteer in a group that may have access to,

[00:06:13] Josh

to young people and things like that. Is that kind of what good character

[00:06:16] Josh

references are for? What are they? What do they

[00:06:18] Harrison

say?  Yeah. So anyone who commits any sort of crime is, is able to use

[00:06:24] Harrison

a good character reference to prove the sort of good standing in the community. So

[00:06:28] Harrison

if I got a speeding ticket or something, I could use a good character reference. Yeah, I’m, I’m not

[00:06:34] Harrison

a lawyer so I don’t know the ins and outs and specifics of everything,  but yeah that’s,

[00:06:40] Harrison

that’s what it’s utilized for. And but else sort of position as I was explaining

[00:06:46] Harrison

before is that the actual good character is part of the crime when it comes to child sexual abuse, perpetrators,

[00:06:53] Harrison

weaponize that good character to get in contact with the victims. That’s why

[00:06:59] Harrison

there’s this whole sort of good bloke mentality. People think Oh, he wouldn’t harm

[00:07:05] Harrison

a fly or whatever and he sucks to leave my child with. And yeah, so that’s,

[00:07:10] Harrison

it’s sort of a sort of They corrupt that,  that they not only groom the victim,

[00:07:20] Harrison

they groom everyone around the victim into thinking they’re blessed to be around.

[00:07:24] Harrison

So yeah, good character is actually good. It’s a, it’s a part, it’s a part of the crime.

[00:07:29] Josh

Yeah,  that’s such an interesting way to think about it because it’s so true. People have

[00:07:34] Josh

heard that before. But when you hear, you know, allegations and things,

[00:07:37] Josh

even if it’s someone in this like a celebrity, people say, Oh,  they wouldn’t do that. Yeah, obviously that’s such

[00:07:45] Josh

a tough one. They’ve created this persona around themselves. And yeah,

[00:07:49] Josh

so obviously it’s a very personal topic for you. Harrison. Did it take you

[00:07:56] Josh

a long time to kind of, you know, get, did you have this thought

[00:07:59] Josh

a long time ago and then come to it or what was it in your personal journey that

[00:08:04] Josh

led you to take this kind of action?

[00:08:07] Harrison

Yeah, so I’ve been an advocate for about

[00:08:10] Harrison

a year now and before I was I wanted to do advocacy different. I’ve never been

[00:08:16] Harrison

political or into politics or anything like that. Just

[00:08:24] Harrison

It’s wasted on the youth, I guess. And then when I was doing my advocacy,

[00:08:29] Harrison

I was doing things like events and like I started alongside a charity called,  what were you wearing?

[00:08:35] Harrison

We worked together to create australia’s first ever sexual assault awareness music

[00:08:40] Harrison

festival. And I did things like I ran a clothing brand, then I ran a brand that had these condoms,

[00:08:47] Harrison

and they had consensual warnings on the front of them and stuff like that.

[00:08:49] Harrison

So I

[00:08:50] Harrison

wanted to get people comfortable with an uncomfortable situation topic to talk

[00:08:54] Harrison

about. I wanted them to have a sort of avenue to go through,

[00:08:58] Harrison

so it could spark these conversations and then with my advocacy, it just got to

[00:09:03] Harrison

a point where I think I wanted to be taken more seriously amongst amongst my peers

[00:09:08] Harrison

in the space. And that’s sort of, I had this idea about

[00:09:13] Harrison

a year ago. They’re good with the good character,

[00:09:18] Harrison

but I didn’t know where to start with it. And then me and my friend, Jared,

[00:09:22] Harrison

we just went out for a couple of beers one day. And we were saying, Oh,  that’s such

[00:09:26] Harrison

a good thing to sort of sort of work on and

[00:09:29] Harrison

we should pursue it. And then I said,  yeah, we should,

[00:09:33] Harrison

I just needed that sort of driving force to give me the kick to start it off. And

[00:09:41] Harrison

yeah, and so that was on the Saturday when we went for

[00:09:43] Harrison

a cup and then he called me on Monday and was like, Oh yeah,

[00:09:46] Harrison

I think we really got to work at that. And

[00:09:48] Harrison

I responded, well, what do you mean?

[00:09:50] Harrison

I’m already got meetings with three different lawyers this week and stuff. So yeah,  it was,

[00:09:56] Harrison

it was funny. I just needed that sort of kickstart and Jared was able to provide

[00:10:00] Harrison

that to me and yeah,  that was earlier. That was in about February this year. So. And also I got

[00:10:07] Harrison

a taste of,  of what sort of politics and what government changes in government can

[00:10:16] Harrison

do when when I work with New South Wales police to bring forward their New sexual assault reporting options,

[00:10:24] Harrison

it’s an online version.

[00:10:26] Harrison

So people can report and take and be anonymous when they’re reporting.

[00:10:31] Josh

So that was previously possible to be anonymous.

[00:10:34] Harrison

So,  so there was a thing called, sorry, but it was a paper based document. So

[00:10:40] Harrison

a survivor who is reporting to police had to like download this file, print it off,

[00:10:46] Harrison

fill it out, scan it back in,

[00:10:47] Harrison

and email it off to the state. And I think after you’ve just had one of the worst

[00:10:52] Harrison

things imaginable happen to you,

[00:10:53] Harrison

that’s the last thing you’d ever want to do. So it became this online sort of

[00:10:58] Harrison

version and it’s in twelve different languages. And now yet people can report

[00:11:05] Harrison

that they can choose not to be contacted or to be contacted by police or they can

[00:11:11] Harrison

choose to only be contacted if several victims come forward for the same

[00:11:15] Harrison

perpetrator. So it was just an easier way for people to gain access and upload,

[00:11:22] Harrison

upload this stories to police, I guess. And yet when I, when we,

[00:11:27] Harrison

when I did the press conference with New South Wales police and the New South Wales

[00:11:31] Harrison

government and it came out officially like we did the reports. We got

[00:11:37] Harrison

a third of the amount of last year’s reports in two weeks. And I just saw the real

[00:11:44] Harrison

reporting went up seven hundred,  thirty five hundred percent. And I just saw the impact that that change can have.

[00:11:50] Harrison

So that also really cemented that I wanted to get into policy making as well. And I

[00:11:57] Harrison

just sort of went, yeah, we’re at this point now.

[00:12:00] Josh

Yep,  that’s unbelievable. Those stats that you know,

[00:12:04] Josh

you make something easier for someone and of course you’re going to see good

[00:12:08] Josh

results. So that’s how horrible to think that the flip side of that is that people

[00:12:13] Josh

obviously weren’t reporting enough because

[00:12:16] Harrison

these right

[00:12:17] Josh

now and thought and so unfortunate. Now I’ve got a, I’ve got two young kids, six and four,

[00:12:22] Josh

and I know the innocence of them sometimes just makes you think about the world

[00:12:26] Josh

differently. And they asked something about robbers or something like we talked

[00:12:30] Josh

about how it came up and they’re saying, Oh, why did people do that?  Like bad things

[00:12:35] Josh

and dumped me silence for what?  Chase yeah, no. And it’s shocking that this does happen. And you know,

[00:12:44] Josh

these people,  so I shouldn’t say shouldn’t I say put these things that sound easy and when you,

[00:12:50] Josh

when you say it out loud and the reality of all the different policy that’s behind

[00:12:53] Josh

it, the work has to go to change it. So I mean, yeah,

[00:12:58] Josh

Super impressed with your work, Harrison. It said something.

[00:13:02] Harrison

And they said,  so the thing with Sarah,

[00:13:06] Harrison

the police thing and the Europeans aren’t Relevant campaign. They’re only for New

[00:13:09] Harrison

South Wales at the moment. But I know that I’m keen to pursue them in other states and territories too,

[00:13:16] Harrison

because everyone deserves the same sort of rights and privileges when it comes to this sort of thing.

[00:13:22] Harrison

And yeah,

[00:13:24] Harrison

there’s so much more work that we can do. These are just two simple fixes,

[00:13:28] Harrison

but there’s a plethora of things that we can do to make this,

[00:13:30] Harrison

this whole process easier for victims and survivors because right now the odds are stacked against us. There’s no,

[00:13:40] Harrison

there’s no incentive for us to come forward because we know the system is set up

[00:13:44] Harrison

for us to fail. So we don’t bother participating. So yeah, we’ve got to do

[00:13:48] Harrison

a lot more. But these sort of examples are a great starting point. Especially for

[00:13:54] Harrison

a wider conversation amongst people as well.

[00:13:57] Josh

The other comment I had just going

[00:13:59] Josh

back a little bit, you were saying that you caught up with your mate and you know,

[00:14:03] Josh

and then that was kind of a spark.

[00:14:06] Josh

It’s just another reason why you’re

[00:14:08] Josh

a young achiever and inspiration Australian Harrison, because I think most people,  when they catch up with they have

[00:14:14] Josh

a good idea whether it’s frivolous or important.  Usually you leave and have

[00:14:20] Josh

a good time. And the idea kind of ends there and you might bring it up

[00:14:22] Josh

a year later. Or you remember that that thing we talked about. And just,

[00:14:27] Josh

Yeah. So so cool that not only did you just go out and start booking,

[00:14:32] Josh

conversation with lawyers and your friend actually followed up on the Monday as well. So yeah, that’s yeah, really,

[00:14:38] Josh

really cool. And obviously it shows that you really are driven to make these changes.

[00:14:43] Harrison

Yeah, thanks Josh,

[00:14:44] Harrison

and I think for my friends is survivor as well. And I think the one thing that I mean

[00:14:51] Harrison

a consistent theme amongst survivors is that they want to incite change because they

[00:14:55] Harrison

don’t want it to happen to any other person. We know what it’s like to sort of Be

[00:15:00] Harrison

in what I can only describe as one of the lowest of lows that any

[00:15:07] Harrison

possible person can be driven to,

[00:15:09] Harrison

I guess. And yet we just don’t want anyone else to feel like that. So I think survivors,

[00:15:15] Harrison

some of the most intellectual people I’ve ever met and the driven so driven and,

[00:15:21] Harrison

and they want to see change and, and yeah,  there are forces to be reckoned with. So that’s,

[00:15:27] Harrison

I’m inspired by the community that I’m part of. So yeah,

[00:15:32] Josh

you mentioned the australia’s first sexual assault awareness music festival. Can you tell us a bit about that?

[00:15:38] Josh

You know how it came about and then what the actual festival was like?

[00:15:42] Harrison

Yeah, yeah, of course. So I have a friend named Sarah Williams who runs what were you wearing?  Yep. It’s

[00:15:49] Harrison

a founder dedicated to ending sexual violence and she was the winner of the another

[00:15:54] Harrison

category. This in this year’s young chamber awards. But yeah,  this was last year. Yeah.

[00:16:03] Harrison

Last year and yeah,

[00:16:06] Harrison

I was receiving an award in Newcastle and She was

[00:16:13] Harrison

giving it to me and I said, Oh I have this great idea to do

[00:16:19] Harrison

a music festival. I think it’d be really sort of

[00:16:21] Harrison

a great thing to bring people together. And she replied, Oh my God,

[00:16:24] Harrison

you’d have no idea what we’re announcing tonight.

[00:16:26] Harrison

It’s how music festival would you

[00:16:28] Harrison

like to be a part of it. And I said,

[00:16:29] Harrison

of course I would love to help out and yeah,

[00:16:33] Harrison

so I did all the merchandise for it because I was running my clothing brand at the

[00:16:37] Harrison

time and a host of one of the,  one of the three stages which I love doing as well. And

[00:16:47] Josh

yes,  I mean you were kind of like up and up on the stage and

[00:16:50] Harrison

Yeah, yeah,  in front of

[00:16:51] Josh

people said yeah,

[00:16:52] Harrison

but between acts and introducing acts and stuff like that. Yeah. It was fun. After

[00:16:57] Harrison

I’d go in the audience and meet with people and have conversations and stuff if

[00:17:02] Harrison

they weren’t enjoying the music, of course. But it was

[00:17:06] Harrison

a great time we had over. So the first one

[00:17:09] Harrison

is good numbers. I think we had like,  over

[00:17:11] Harrison

a thousand people come through throughout the whole day and it was an enclosed venue.

[00:17:17] Harrison

But of these three, three massive rooms and three stages and yeah,

[00:17:23] Harrison

it was a great day. And it just, I think it was created,

[00:17:29] Harrison

it was created to combat sort of drinks spiking and unsafe practices in venues. And yeah,

[00:17:38] Harrison

so I think we wanted to show an alternative so that we people can make this work

[00:17:43] Harrison

and the big organisations can actually implement legitimate practices. We can do it,

[00:17:49] Harrison

they can definitely do it. So we want to show them that this can be done,

[00:17:53] Harrison

and yet that’s all Sarah’s work in. And what were you wearing the,

[00:17:58] Harrison

what were you wearing to work and I was just, I was just

[00:18:02] Harrison

a part of it. And I’m grateful to have been a part of it.

[00:18:06] Josh

Yeah, for sure. So Sarah,  as you said, she won what you were wearing, what were you wearing one,

[00:18:10] Josh

the Freemasons of New South Wales and state community service award. And that was,

[00:18:15] Josh

that would have been amazing to have you both being there, you know,

[00:18:19] Josh

as winners and up on the same stage at one point together at the end of the night.

[00:18:24] Josh

I’ll be a bit of a surreal moment. I’m guessing.

[00:18:26] Harrison

Yeah, it’s a great feeling. Yeah,  we were just talking about it after and. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it was

[00:18:33] Harrison

a very surreal moment for sure to see that we’ve gone through very similar journeys

[00:18:38] Harrison

and to, to sort of Be on that stage together. Was a great feeling.

[00:18:42] Harrison


[00:18:44] Josh

I think it also tells

[00:18:45] Josh

a little bit about what people are now starting to value. And you said it yourself

[00:18:50] Josh

earlier making these. Yeah. Not so comfortable conversations. More common and

[00:18:56] Josh

making it more comfortable for people. That now as part of awards Programs that

[00:19:02] Josh

aren’t focused on this area that they’re focused on all different fields. And now

[00:19:08] Josh

we’re actually trying to celebrate and put in the spotlight. These kinds of

[00:19:13] Josh

conversations that maybe aren’t so comfortable for people and showcasing different

[00:19:17] Josh

types of things that sparked these conversations. And yeah, you know,

[00:19:22] Josh

it’s great to have you and obviously Sarah as well amongst others leading that,  that charge.

[00:19:28] Harrison

Thank you.

[00:19:30] Josh

So that sounds like such a cool festival and you know their plans to to do it again.

[00:19:36] Harrison

I think there’s a yeah at there’s another one coming soon, but I think I’m not,

[00:19:42] Harrison

I’m not too in on it yet. I think I

[00:19:44] Harrison

think they’ve asked me to come back and do it again,

[00:19:47] Harrison

but I’d be more than happy to but I’ve been so busy with the campaign. I’m running

[00:19:51] Harrison

at the moment. I just,  I don’t want to spread myself to want to.

[00:19:55] Harrison

If I’m going to do something,

[00:19:56] Harrison

I want to make sure I’m going to be there to give it my all

[00:20:03] Josh

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[00:20:06] Josh

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Past performance

[00:20:53] Josh

isn’t a reliable indicator of future performance. So I think with that you know,

[00:20:59] Josh

advocacy work and policy. And then you know, you’ve also got

[00:21:05] Josh

a like an income and those kind of things. How you juggling all of these things and

[00:21:11] Josh

where do you find the time for it?

[00:21:13] Harrison

Yeah, so I work, I work part time at

[00:21:18] Harrison

a bar which I love doing. And then I dedicate all my other time to sort of the

[00:21:23] Harrison

advocacy and the policy making. And yeah, it’s, it’s,

[00:21:27] Harrison

you have to find time to meet with friends and, you know,

[00:21:31] Harrison

with family as well. And you always have to make time for that. You need to set

[00:21:36] Harrison

time aside for yourself as well, which is really important. You know,

[00:21:39] Harrison

sometimes you just need to recharge separately. So it’s is all, I think it’s

[00:21:44] Harrison

a difficult Balancing act for not just me,  but for everyone. I think everyone has difficulties. Balancing the schedules and

[00:21:54] Harrison

yeah, but also I just have this drive that I and not to sound egotistical,

[00:22:00] Harrison

but I haven’t seen it in anyone else. I think I’m sort of different in that sense.

[00:22:08] Harrison

I just yeah, I wake up each morning. It’s the first thing I think about,

[00:22:13] Harrison

and I go to bed thinking of what I’m going to

[00:22:15] Harrison

do for the next day for it. So yeah,

[00:22:19] Harrison

it’s sort of taking up a lot of my time at the moment,

[00:22:21] Harrison

but it’s only been since May and that we’ve gone full force with it and it’ll wrap

[00:22:27] Harrison

up soon when we win. And yeah, so I just have to

[00:22:33] Harrison

Yeah,  I’m just so motivated. In getting it done and yeah,

[00:22:38] Harrison

but I do still take time out for myself and the

[00:22:41] Josh

hours and how much of it is kind of a solo effort of you know,

[00:22:45] Josh

you said that you’re driven and I think that’s not egotistical at all. I think it’s

[00:22:49] Josh

fantastic to embrace our strengths and our skills and you know,

[00:22:52] Josh

the assets that we have to believe in ourselves if we want to achieve great results.  So that is,

[00:22:58] Josh

I really want to applaud that as well. But how

[00:23:00] Josh

much of it is solo versus, you know,  bringing other people in. And I only mentioned that about, you know,

[00:23:06] Josh

how you said you were driven because I guess it’s a true poll question. I’m making this

[00:23:10] Josh

a long question. If you are teaming up with people,

[00:23:12] Josh

do you find it difficult to work with others who may not share that drive that you have?

[00:23:18] Harrison

So it’s like it’s like spinning plates. So I think you have to,

[00:23:22] Harrison

when I went to And also it’s very much for taking, you know,  this,

[00:23:29] Harrison

this work is the make up of lots and lots of

[00:23:32] Harrison

people. It’s not just me. But I think

[00:23:34] Harrison

I just calibrate the teams and put them in place so we can all go towards a,

[00:23:41] Harrison

you know, United sort of end point, which I think is what

[00:23:46] Harrison

a leader does. And I think that’s a really important attribute to have. But yet,

[00:23:52] Harrison

like when it comes to sort of spinning these plates,

[00:23:55] Harrison

there’s the survivors that want to share their stories for the campaign. There’s the journalists, there’s the politicians,

[00:24:04] Harrison

there’s the lawyers. So there’s all different groups that have to interact to try

[00:24:08] Harrison

to put it into this one big pot. So you can make this happen. It’s

[00:24:13] Harrison

a sort of difficult thing to sort of get your head around. But I think if you have

[00:24:19] Harrison

a great support system,

[00:24:20] Harrison

which I do with lots of my friends that are part of the survivor community as well.

[00:24:26] Harrison

And they put me in contact with certain individuals and stuff like that,

[00:24:29] Harrison

which I’m very, very grateful for.

[00:24:32] Harrison

Yeah, that helps a million a million times over,

[00:24:35] Harrison

but I also think that people are often scared to ask the question,

[00:24:40] Harrison

like do you know this person or or that scared to to send that email to that. So

[00:24:45] Harrison

that person that think that they think that that or that that No can get them to

[00:24:50] Harrison

the next point. So my advice to cope with that would just be Yeah,  that self-belief,

[00:24:58] Harrison

that self determination and that sort of manifesting of I know that I’ll get this done and yeah,

[00:25:04] Harrison

just driving through. That’s sort of my advice with that. I guess.

[00:25:09] Josh

Well it’s

[00:25:10] Josh

awesome. You get to mind, I was going to

[00:25:11] Josh

ask you if you have any tips for people,  you know,

[00:25:13] Josh

wanting to get into advocacy and policymaking and this kind of work that you’re

[00:25:17] Josh

doing and you kind of beat me to the punch there. So in terms of journalists,  you mention them. Yeah,

[00:25:23] Josh

I can be quite difficult. Sometimes people just need to get their story or that

[00:25:26] Josh

campaign out there. Have you found any, you know,

[00:25:29] Josh

useful ways or kind of have you got any other tips I guess with people wanting to

[00:25:34] Josh

engage in that way?

[00:25:36] Harrison

Yeah,  of course. I think the thing with journalism and getting your story out there is

[00:25:42] Harrison

that it’s such there’s so many stories out there. So you really have to

[00:25:51] Harrison

differentiate yourself and sort of it’s weird because you have to pitch it,

[00:25:56] Harrison

but I don’t want to say pitch it because I just think it’s such

[00:26:00] Harrison

a with what I’m doing. It’s such

[00:26:02] Harrison

a valid story to be put out there. And it could really change the conversation and

[00:26:06] Harrison

how people approach preventing child sexual abuse. It’s such a,

[00:26:11] Harrison

I think with the statistics that we see of how prevalent child sexual abuse is,

[00:26:17] Harrison

which is one in three girls and one in five boys. I think it’s a necessity that,

[00:26:22] Harrison

that information is out. So yeah,  it’s all and how you pitch it to two journalists. And difficult thing

[00:26:31] Harrison

with journalism as well. Is that, and this is, and I’m not knocking it,

[00:26:34] Harrison

but it specifically for survivors. You have to be careful that it’s not just being

[00:26:39] Harrison

sensationalized for sort of their own needs.

[00:26:44] Harrison

And so for that,

[00:26:45] Harrison

you really need to be upfront and clear with your intentions and what your

[00:26:49] Harrison

boundaries are with it and stuff like that. It’s really,

[00:26:51] Harrison

really important. And that’s a whole nother conversation, but in terms of tips,

[00:26:57] Harrison

I would say that some of the best advice I’ve received so far is really being stern

[00:27:02] Harrison

and clear with your boundaries and how you want to approach this. And also what you

[00:27:07] Harrison

expect to come of it as well so that the people that are uploading these stories or

[00:27:13] Harrison

working with you on these stories can,

[00:27:15] Harrison

can put the appropriate measures in place to sort of try their best to meet those

[00:27:20] Harrison

expectations. So yeah, yeah, it’s about developing,  it’s all about relationships and strengthening relationships and keeping them alive and yeah,

[00:27:30] Harrison

that’s what it’s all about. So that would be my sort of advice. Think of it as

[00:27:35] Harrison

a like you’re trying to build a business almost. Yeah.

[00:27:40] Harrison

And don’t be afraid to send that email,

[00:27:42] Harrison

we’ll Bring that phone number or whatever,  you know. Yeah,  it’ll all work itself out of you believe it will.

[00:27:52] Josh

Yeah. I remember someone telling me once they were having a, you know, on a similar vein, they’re like, Oh,

[00:27:59] Josh

just feeling a bit anxious to make that call or whatever

[00:28:02] Josh

. Yeah, I said, Oh, well,  the worst that can happen is they don’t pick up. But they actually had

[00:28:06] Josh

a good point. They said, no,  I’m actually more worried if they do pick up

[00:28:12] Josh

And they didn’t want to have the,

[00:28:13] Josh

you know,  that conversation or face any tough questions or any of that. And I had to laugh

[00:28:19] Josh

because it’s funny. Everyone is so different,

[00:28:20] Josh

I think of it in different ways but but you’re right

[00:28:23] Josh

. You just got to give it a go,  don’t you?

[00:28:26] Harrison

Yes. Well I think um, I think what’s it a wasted opportunity causes more pain for us than the rejection?

[00:28:34] Harrison

So yeah it’s, it’s really important just to give it a crack because you’ll be kicking yourself later.

[00:28:41] Josh

Yep. So true. Now you mentioned before as well. Of, you know, the great support iPad and that it’s definitely

[00:28:47] Josh

a team effort. And going back to the awards night just quickly,

[00:28:51] Josh

I could definitely say that that was the case because not only were you Super

[00:28:55] Josh

supported at the awards night event when you won the Spirit Super connecting

[00:28:59] Josh

communities award, but then afterwards as well.

[00:29:01] Josh

And so,  so many people were really backing you and supporting your efforts,

[00:29:06] Josh

which was great to see, you know, I guess,

[00:29:08] Josh

going back to that moment when you were announced as the winner,

[00:29:11] Josh

what was it that was going through your head when that happened,  when they announced Harrison James,

[00:29:17] Harrison

there was lots of different emotions. Um

[00:29:23] Harrison

It was great excitement and a real thrill. And there was

[00:29:28] Harrison

a great sense of like I felt humble and really appreciated and

[00:29:35] Harrison

that was lovely. But I was also sort of conflicted because at the time one of the

[00:29:42] Harrison

which I mentioned in my speech as well, was the, the uh,

[00:29:48] Harrison

the Bruce lemon video interview that was going on channel seven. And I sort of

[00:29:54] Harrison

thought it was appropriate to mention that and that got

[00:29:57] Harrison

a lot of attention as well after the fact so, but yeah,

[00:30:03] Harrison

it was great to see from the awards night themselves like the young achiever

[00:30:09] Harrison

awards. They said we fully support what Harrison said and stuff like that,

[00:30:12] Harrison

which I was really appreciative of. And yeah, I just thought for,  if I’m an advocate for survivors,

[00:30:19] Harrison

I have to use those opportunities to call certain things out. Yeah,

[00:30:26] Harrison

it was really important to me and I appreciated that I was supported by the like

[00:30:31] Harrison

the organization as well. So

[00:30:33] Josh

was it a tough, tough choice for you to do it?  Or was it something that you know,

[00:30:38] Josh

you kind of knew you were going to do or did it just come to you in the moment

[00:30:42] Harrison


[00:30:42] Harrison

it’s sort of just kind of, I knew I was

[00:30:44] Harrison

going to, I thought about doing it and I,

[00:30:47] Harrison

I just knew it was the right thing to do.

[00:30:51] Harrison

Yeah. And I thought if I didn’t do it,

[00:30:54] Harrison

I would be I would be there for my own interests and not the interests of my

[00:30:59] Harrison

community who I advocate for. And yeah, the,

[00:31:04] Harrison

the best interest to me is making sure that survivors are given a voice,

[00:31:08] Harrison

and they’re shown the temples that you know,

[00:31:13] Harrison

in the face of very real fear. If you speak up it and it, it’s

[00:31:18] Harrison

a good thing to do. It’s not a bad thing to speak up and to Yeah that that’s,

[00:31:25] Harrison

that was my thinking at the time. I thought it would inspire the people that,

[00:31:28] Harrison

that feel like they’re voiceless. It felt like it would give them a voice. So

[00:31:34] Josh

yeah,  I think because you did it with such integrity as well that it was even more

[00:31:38] Josh

powerful in my opinion.

[00:31:39] Harrison

Yeah. I don’t think I didn’t go up there to offend anyone.

[00:31:42] Harrison

I didn’t go up there to really repent or anything like that. It was just

[00:31:47] Harrison

a point that I felt needed to be made and I wanted to remain respectful and I think,

[00:31:51] Harrison

I think I did, and yeah,

[00:31:54] Harrison

I didn’t go there with the intent to cause any drama or anything like that. I went

[00:31:58] Harrison

out there with the best interests of the people that are, that I represent on a daily basis.

[00:32:04] Josh

Yeah,  I think it was good. I think it was very strong.

[00:32:07] Josh

And you got your point across more

[00:32:08] Josh

effective because in my opinion, you know, the young achiever was Ah,

[00:32:13] Josh

a platform for young people. And therefore the platform is given and what the young

[00:32:18] Josh

person does with the platform is up to them. Yeah. One thing, you know,

[00:32:24] Josh

people do say occasionally is that you know, people use the platform to make a big statement, which again,

[00:32:30] Josh

I actually encourage. But my personal which I think that’s not my life preference but,

[00:32:37] Josh

but what I love to see is that people use it effectively to get the message across

[00:32:42] Josh

and to bring people in the journey with them. And so that’s what you did, you know,

[00:32:46] Josh

because I have seen in the Past where people try and use the opportunity. And

[00:32:49] Josh

unfortunately it has almost adverse effect where it doesn’t bring people on the

[00:32:53] Josh

journey. It does, does spark a conversation so that really, you know,  effectively does that,

[00:32:59] Josh

but it kind of doesn’t bring them on the journey with them and then keep that,

[00:33:03] Josh

that following and that support going into the future. So

[00:33:06] Harrison


[00:33:07] Josh

I guess that long winded comment is really to ask you in your journey as a,  you know,

[00:33:13] Josh

getting into advocacy and that kind of thing. How have you found the best way to

[00:33:18] Josh

bring people with you on that journey?

[00:33:20] Harrison

Yeah, I think if you go into it wanting to be divisive,

[00:33:23] Harrison

you’ll get those sort of results. I never want to be divisive. I want to bring

[00:33:28] Harrison

people together. I want people that have an experience. So

[00:33:33] Harrison

a crime as heinous as what I’ve experienced to sort of not feel it,  but I want them to get,

[00:33:39] Harrison

get an understanding of what’s out there and what’s going on. And the only way you

[00:33:44] Harrison

get people on board with your sort of mission is by having appropriate and

[00:33:50] Harrison

civilized conversations with them. I think pointing the finger at anyone is it’s

[00:33:55] Harrison

never the the answer. And that’s what I start to do. I

[00:34:02] Harrison

only ever want to bring people together and you know, it is, it is

[00:34:07] Harrison

a very grave and just this where it’s very stuck and there’s

[00:34:11] Harrison

a real power dynamic that’s. It’s a bit of a different thing, but yeah, that,

[00:34:16] Harrison

that’s, that’s always my intention. It’s never to be divisive or,

[00:34:20] Harrison

or create controversy. I don’t want to be that at all,

[00:34:25] Harrison

but I will use a platform like like I was given and

[00:34:31] Harrison

a platform that I’m very grateful that I was given. And I’m very grateful that I

[00:34:36] Harrison

was supported in my decision to utilise that platform to,

[00:34:41] Harrison

to give people an insight on what the point that I was making and how that would

[00:34:46] Harrison

have made people like me feel, I guess. Yes

[00:34:49] Harrison

. So yeah, really, really important to,  to do it with the right intention.

[00:34:55] Josh

Surely a bit easier to just be bitter though and an angry because you say such horrible

[00:35:00] Josh

things. Yeah. How do you grapple with that with the,

[00:35:04] Josh

with those emotions that and do they spill over into your, you know, everyday life?

[00:35:09] Harrison

Look, I think if you say things that make you inherently angry,

[00:35:13] Harrison

it’s better to sort of not be so reactive to things. So I think it’s great to sort

[00:35:17] Harrison

of see things through and think them through and feel them and then come up with an

[00:35:22] Harrison

argument or counsel. I think there’s a lot of sort of instances where there’s been reactive sort of statements and

[00:35:30] Harrison

people want to retract them later and stuff like that. So it’s better to sort of

[00:35:33] Harrison

think and your point will still be Relevant in

[00:35:36] Harrison

a few days time when you’ve thought of it. Instead of like an hour after the thing,

[00:35:40] Harrison

I think we live in such an instant. Everything’s at our fingertips and we get

[00:35:45] Harrison

everything we need.

[00:35:46] Harrison

It’s on, you know, movies are on demand. We have UberEATS food,

[00:35:51] Harrison

you know, everything’s so instant. And on social media,

[00:35:54] Harrison

we get an instant form of gratification. We feel that our output needs to be

[00:35:59] Harrison

instantaneous and I think it, I think it’s a real contrast when and it shows real empathy in real and

[00:36:09] Harrison

a real sort of thought out argument when someone waits and not like waits

[00:36:13] Harrison

intentionally but thinks it through. Yep. Yeah,  I think that’s important.

[00:36:18] Josh

So you’re a fan of the clapback two days later.

[00:36:21] Harrison

Yeah. Maybe

[00:36:23] Josh

I reckon we should bring it in.  That’s really good because I’m like, yeah,

[00:36:26] Josh

I know exactly what you’re talking about and someone has this comment and you’re

[00:36:29] Josh

just like, Oh, I just want to come back. That’s such, you know,

[00:36:33] Josh

so it’s crap. They’re talking about. But then and the moment you’re like,

[00:36:37] Josh

I haven’t really got the words to really say this in the right way. It’s not coming across.

[00:36:40] Harrison

Right? Yeah.

[00:36:41] Josh

You’re right. That it feels like,  do you think that’s it. Now I have to say it.

[00:36:46] Harrison


[00:36:46] Harrison

Let me get back to you in forty eight hours. Guess

[00:36:50] Josh

it should be mandatory on any argument just to get a little cooling off

[00:36:55] Harrison

period. Programs should listen to us and put like a forty eight hour timer on responses to comments.

[00:37:02] Josh

It’s not a bad idea,  Harrison. Another thing I want to come back to,

[00:37:07] Josh

so I’ve had so many good points that I keep thinking, well,

[00:37:11] Josh

I’ll come back to that. So coming back to that,

[00:37:14] Josh

your work because of those police and the essay that you were talking about. So you know,

[00:37:20] Josh

I’ve got in my notes that you were the voice and face of one of their campaigns.  Was that something

[00:37:26] Josh

a bit different for you with having to get behind the camera and recording and things like that?

[00:37:32] Harrison

Yeah, that was very different and it sort of gave me it was like

[00:37:36] Harrison

a trial to put on what I was,

[00:37:38] Harrison

what I’m doing now type of thing. You’re seeing how media operates and I sort of,

[00:37:46] Harrison

I was very grateful for that opportunity because it was

[00:37:52] Harrison

a great sort of starting point for when I could do my own thing later. I didn’t

[00:37:56] Harrison

realize I was going to do my own thing later,

[00:37:58] Harrison

but it

[00:37:59] Josh

was actually when did that take place that you were getting involved with that case?

[00:38:05] Harrison

Yeah,  so Sara took place I was was introduced in December of last year and the launch

[00:38:12] Harrison

took place in early January of this year. Yeah,

[00:38:15] Harrison

yeah. So this is before your reference, St. Relevant was ever, it was,  the idea was there,

[00:38:21] Harrison

but it was before it went to launch in May. Yeah. So there’s quite

[00:38:26] Harrison

a bit of time so, but to sort of get

[00:38:28] Harrison

a feel of what the space is like because I never really got involved in that.

[00:38:34] Harrison

And yeah, that was, that was,

[00:38:37] Harrison

it was an amazing privilege to be able to do that with the place. And like I

[00:38:43] Harrison

remember before we did the conference, I was in a room with the deputy premier,

[00:38:50] Harrison

sitting across from me and the commissioner,  the police commissioner next to me as well. And I just was thinking,

[00:38:56] Harrison

I can’t believe I’m in this room right now and it’s real. Yeah. At the time,

[00:39:01] Harrison

I think I’ve been doing advocacy for three months now. And before this was after I

[00:39:05] Harrison

came out with a video I up so how I got started with advocacy was I uploaded

[00:39:10] Harrison

a video of my story and it got like a lot of got a lot of views.

[00:39:14] Josh

So where did you upload that to?  If people wanted to find that up,

[00:39:18] Harrison

Oh yeah, it’s on Instagram. Yep.  Username is,

[00:39:22] Harrison

it’s Harry James, Harry. So then I but yeah, so I uploaded that video and it got

[00:39:28] Harrison

a lot of sort of views and then it solidified the following. For me,

[00:39:31] Harrison

that’s how I built some of those opportunities, but anyway, back to Sara. Yeah,

[00:39:36] Harrison

I was sitting there and I was like,

[00:39:37] Harrison

Oh this is crazy. That are built up to this point and yeah, it was, it was a great privilege,

[00:39:44] Harrison

but the real privilege was saying the numbers after the fact and the laws that

[00:39:47] Harrison

actually impacted that was like So I’m saying this selfishly,

[00:39:53] Harrison

but it was the greatest reward to see that it had made

[00:39:56] Harrison

a really positive impact on people’s lives. Because I know what it’s like to be

[00:40:01] Harrison

voiceless, and that’s, that could have given someone, you know,

[00:40:06] Harrison

a real voice and made them feel seen and heard and,

[00:40:09] Harrison

and respected. And I think that’s also I just want so to be a part of that was was

[00:40:16] Harrison

a real privilege. Yeah.

[00:40:18] Josh

Yeah,  that’s awesome. Let me know if you prefer not to talk about this, but you know,

[00:40:22] Josh

with your personal situation and obviously you’re helping people now to,

[00:40:26] Josh

to do the reporting and to get these results that for fairness and for justice for

[00:40:31] Josh

what’s right. You know, in your situation, did you have to go through that?

[00:40:36] Josh

Were you able to get justice for what happened to you?

[00:40:39] Harrison

Know,  so I my stepmother to sexually

[00:40:47] Harrison

abused me from the ages of thirteen to sixteen and it happened every day before and

[00:40:52] Harrison

after school. And when I was fifteen,

[00:40:55] Harrison

she actually fell pregnant. To my daughter who I had to pretend was my sister so many years later,

[00:41:01] Harrison

to avoid being physically hurt by another certain family member. But then when I was nineteen,

[00:41:10] Harrison

they fled the country.

[00:41:11] Harrison

My stepmother took my daughter slash sister with her to her

[00:41:16] Harrison

home country of the Philippines. So my case and then that’s when I had to come

[00:41:21] Harrison

forward with my story and what happened for the first time to my family members. So

[00:41:27] Harrison

yeah, because they fled the country. I can’t get justice in the traditional sense,

[00:41:34] Harrison

but it keeps me. So I’ve changed my name legally so I can talk publicly about this

[00:41:39] Harrison

and stuff like that. And I put all those protective measures in place.

[00:41:43] Harrison

But the,

[00:41:44] Harrison

my justice doesn’t come from seeing my perpetrator on

[00:41:51] Harrison

a stand. It comes from helping other people. And that’s why I’m so driven into

[00:41:54] Harrison

helping others, so they don’t have to feel a tenth

[00:41:58] Harrison

of what I sort of feel, I guess,

[00:42:00] Harrison

even though. Yeah. So that’s what keeps me driven and keeps me going. So

[00:42:07] Harrison

yeah, I hope one day I can get justice but for now this is,

[00:42:10] Harrison

this is phenomenal. And I’m I’m so grateful that I’m able to help other people like

[00:42:16] Harrison

it really does it. It’s almost selfish because it really does bring me happiness.  Like it does. Yeah.

[00:42:23] Josh

Yeah. Well,  compared to what you’ve been through the hard work you’re putting in, you know,

[00:42:28] Josh

it might seem easy at times for you, I don’t

[00:42:30] Josh

to put words in your mouth, but yeah,

[00:42:32] Josh

I can see why obviously you’re so driven because of what you’ve been through that.

[00:42:35] Josh

The journey you’ve had to endure? Yeah.

[00:42:38] Harrison

Yeah, yeah, for sure. So. Yeah,  going through that.

[00:42:43] Harrison

Losing my daughter as well. And then yeah,  going through

[00:42:48] Harrison

a plethora of different things after the fact of grieving and um yeah,

[00:42:54] Harrison

I don’t want anyone anyone to feel anything like that. So hopefully I,

[00:43:00] Harrison

I hope I can help in any way and I think it is. So yeah.

[00:43:05] Josh

Were you able to find support from your family as well?

[00:43:09] Harrison

Well, see, that’s the thing with Child sexual abuse that occurs in

[00:43:13] Harrison

a family. It’s different to something like say for instance,

[00:43:18] Harrison

a case of institutional child sexual abuse where a religious leader preys on

[00:43:24] Harrison

a child because that child’s family has a very clear enemy. When it happens with

[00:43:30] Harrison

a family, it divides the family. So some people go, well I can’t believe that,  but some people do,

[00:43:36] Harrison

it creates this weird dynamic within the family. So it’s just another layer of trauma, I guess, because yeah,

[00:43:45] Harrison

some family members didn’t support and still don’t support what I do. They don’t believe what I say,

[00:43:51] Harrison

but other family members make up for that tenfold. So I’m really,

[00:43:54] Harrison

really grateful for. So it’s a difficult one to navigate, but yeah,

[00:43:59] Harrison

I just grateful for the ones that do support me.

[00:44:04] Josh

It is,  you know,  people believing your story is that one of the hardest things for survivors to

[00:44:12] Josh

grapple with and to, to battle through.

[00:44:16] Harrison

Well,  I think We often say that it’s so important for survivors to be late,

[00:44:23] Harrison

which is so true because With we’re faced with such an

[00:44:31] Harrison

uphill battle and to not be believed is like it’s one of the

[00:44:38] Harrison

it’s the biggest punch in the guts of the whole sort of process of it,

[00:44:42] Harrison

especially when it’s family members and stuff like that. So yeah,

[00:44:48] Harrison

it’s imperative that survivors of AIDS, you know, and I spoke with recently about

[00:44:54] Harrison

a month ago, I was invited by New South Wales police to go to

[00:44:59] Harrison

a conference to speak about my story. And what police can do better in terms of

[00:45:06] Harrison

report when it comes to reporting. And I was telling them it’s so important

[00:45:13] Harrison

that everyone in this room realises the responsibility and the weight that comes

[00:45:19] Harrison

with the fact that we met that we will definitely be will most likely be the first

[00:45:25] Harrison

point of contact for survivors. And to say,

[00:45:27] Harrison

I believe you and what you’re saying in this moment, what you’re telling me,

[00:45:30] Harrison

I believe it’s so if we don’t do that,

[00:45:34] Harrison

it could completely change the trajectory of where survivor ends up. So it’s so important. It’s so important. Yeah, yeah.

[00:45:43] Josh

I think for anyone who’s is listening and having questions around,  whether it’s

[00:45:49] Josh

a personal experience that they’ve had with someone else or stories that,

[00:45:52] Josh

that don’t seem believable to think about. The situation that survivors are put through what they, as you said,

[00:45:58] Josh

the hurdles they have to jump to get their story heard. It’s not

[00:46:05] Josh

a nice thing. It’s not something they want to go through.

[00:46:08] Josh

So I just always can’t

[00:46:10] Josh

believe when people say, Oh, they want the attention. Yeah, you know,  they

[00:46:14] Harrison

also like it’s a very rare according to statistics. They have very,

[00:46:20] Harrison

very rare and often when a false allegation does come up, it’s because the, it’s

[00:46:26] Harrison

a cry for help for something else. And it’s very,

[00:46:29] Harrison

very minimal. I don’t think any sane person would make something like this up

[00:46:36] Harrison

to just to go through the process of court and like it, it’s such

[00:46:41] Harrison

a draining and taxing process. No one. Yeah. I,

[00:46:46] Harrison

I couldn’t imagine anyone making it out to have to go through all that. It’s,

[00:46:49] Harrison

it’s hard, it’s horrible. Parents, the current system is horrible. So yeah,

[00:46:54] Harrison

that’s why it’s so important to Billie scruggs yet.

[00:46:58] Josh

Well,  thanks for sharing your story here as well. Because as I’ve said a few times,

[00:47:04] Josh

it is important and it’s, you know, it’s difficult,

[00:47:07] Josh

but it’s something that we need to talk about.

[00:47:09] Josh

And hopefully by more people talking

[00:47:11] Josh

about it and more people advocating like yourself,

[00:47:14] Josh

it’s going to make it easier for people to talk about it to help support and,

[00:47:19] Josh

and get behind things like the, your reference St Relevant campaign, which is,

[00:47:25] Josh

you know, obviously exciting to hear that it’s coming to, you know,  the next step in August.

[00:47:30] Harrison

Yeah. And just on that point as well,  I think the conversations around child sexual abuse can be uncomfortable. But

[00:47:39] Harrison

that discomfort is necessary for progress. And we have to create a society that refuses to turn

[00:47:46] Harrison

a blind eye and works to support all survivors. That’s really important that we get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Yep.

[00:47:57] Josh

Now I’ve got two questions for you before we wrap up. If that’s okay if you’ve got

[00:48:00] Josh

a little bit more time. Oh

[00:48:02] Harrison


[00:48:03] Josh

So as I mentioned,  Spirit Super are sponsoring. This week’s episode of the inspirational strains

[00:48:07] Josh

podcast and as such, they’ve actually provided a question. So I’ll put that forward to you. You know,

[00:48:12] Josh

we’ve kind of covered it in other aspects,

[00:48:15] Josh

but I want to ask it just to kind of get your thoughts on it anyway. You know,

[00:48:19] Josh

if you can kind of boil it down to two,

[00:48:22] Josh

one thing or maybe it’s more than one thing, but you know,

[00:48:24] Josh

what is it that drives you to want to protect and help your community so actively

[00:48:31] Harrison

yeah, we’ve touched on it, but I’ll just reiterate it, it’s,  I don’t want anyone else to feel

[00:48:37] Harrison

a tenth of what I’ve been through. It’s one of the most horrible things I think any

[00:48:41] Harrison

person can experience it’s innocence being stolen. You have to rebuild yourself.  And it’s such

[00:48:49] Harrison

a traumatic thing to go through and it’s so rife as well. Like I mentioned those

[00:48:53] Harrison

statistics with one in three girls and one in five boys. That’s what drives me and yeah,

[00:48:59] Harrison

inciting change and I want to be I want to be for the fourteen year old boy going

[00:49:05] Harrison

through it today. What I needed when I was fourteen telling me Yeah,  yeah. So that’s what drives me and

[00:49:14] Josh

Yeah, yeah,  well you’re doing it so publicly as you mentioned, Instagram, it’s Harry James,

[00:49:20] Josh

Harry with a Y. And, you know, hopefully

[00:49:24] Josh

it’s sad that there are, as you said,

[00:49:26] Josh

that of course as fourteen year old boys that they’re going through it,  which is sad in itself,

[00:49:30] Josh

but hopefully they can see something come across their on social media. That gives

[00:49:35] Josh

them hope, gives them motivation, gives them strength. And I think that’s what,

[00:49:39] Josh

that’s what you’re doing.

[00:49:41] Josh

The last question I had for you, Harrison,

[00:49:43] Josh

is that your on the inspirations range podcast because you most certainly are an

[00:49:47] Josh

incredibly inspirational person. But what is it that inspires you,

[00:49:52] Josh

whether that’s on a day to day basis, or whether that’s, you know,

[00:49:56] Josh

a long term kind of thing. What is that?  Yeah, it inspires you, Harrison.

[00:50:01] Harrison

Oh, there’s a few examples. Actually. There’s the other survivors that I work with on

[00:50:07] Harrison

a almost daily basis. People like anecdotes, Shona, Amanda Morgan,  Sarah Williams. Yeah, Sam Watson, they’re all people,

[00:50:20] Harrison

great time. They’re people I look up towards and I just think they’re amazing. And

[00:50:28] Harrison

I want to, I want to work with them and

[00:50:30] Harrison

I want to be their friends and I want to,

[00:50:32] Harrison

you know, it’s so and All right, they teach me to be

[00:50:37] Harrison

a better version of myself. They support me and they uplift me and yeah,

[00:50:42] Harrison

they’re great people to be around. The community of survivors is such an inspiring

[00:50:47] Harrison

and amazing group of people. And what inspires me in the long term,

[00:50:51] Harrison

I think. And this is just the complete self.  And so like ego answer, I just want to leave

[00:51:01] Harrison

a legacy that lives beyond me.

[00:51:03] Harrison

And I hope that my work can

[00:51:07] Harrison

provide safety and security to generations of people you’re referenced and Relevant.

[00:51:14] Harrison

And what I’ve done with Sara and what I’ve done so far. I mean,

[00:51:17] Harrison

I’ve only been doing this for just over a year now it’s,

[00:51:21] Harrison

I can just say it’s only the beginning. I have my five year plan out of my ten year

[00:51:26] Harrison

plan. And yeah, it’s exciting that,

[00:51:30] Harrison

that drives me to keep going forward because I want, I want to leave the world

[00:51:34] Harrison

a better place before I go.

[00:51:36] Josh

That’s brilliant,  Harrison. Thank you for sharing that. And anyone listening out there,

[00:51:41] Josh

if you know any young people in advocacy policy that have an important message,

[00:51:46] Josh

please nominate them in the young achiever awards.

[00:51:48] Josh

So we can help share their story

[00:51:50] Josh

and hopefully inspire other people just like what Harrison is doing. So Harrison,  thanks for your time today.

[00:51:56] Harrison

Thank you. I really appreciate it

[00:51:58] Josh

and look forward to following your journey,

[00:52:01] Josh

your advocacy and all the best with the with August and the your reference,  any Relevant campaign.

[00:52:07] Harrison

Thanks Josh. Appreciate it.

[00:52:13] Christine

The Inspirational Australian’s podcast is brought to you by awards Australia; we recognise, celebrate and share the stories of inspirational Australians through our awards Programs across the country. To find out more, to nominate an inspirational Australian in your life, or to partner with our awards, visit awards Australia dotcom. If you enjoyed today’s story, we’d love it if you could subscribe, rate and review to make sure you don’t miss an episode and to help our guests reach more people with their inspirational stories.