Until we deconstruct men, disclosure is the single biggest step we can take to battle sexual assault and sexual harassment.
It allows us to see clearly, through a survivor's eyes, what happened during that terrifying time. It lets us see the events in daylight. But there is another part of disclosure, less understood; and that is the responsibility and response of those hearing the story.
Antonia Quadara knows so much about disclosure, hearing from victim-survivors, trawling through the evidence as part of her work with the Sexual Violence Research team at the Australian Institute for Family Studies.
"Disclosure has the power to shine a light on the events that perpetrators try to keep hidden and normalised; and it allows victim-survivors to tell what happened in their own words," she says.
"But it is also about connection, and that is part of its power. Disclosures are told, but they are also heard. And the individuals hearing disclosures have an enormous responsibility to listen."
Since #metoo began, we have had a flood of disclosures, some with enormous impact.
On Friday evening, Brittany Higgins will receive the highest Edna Ryan award, the Grand Stirrer, for a woman who has had a significant impact on the social, economic, and political status of women and girls. In her speech, Higgins will reveal what encouraged her to come forward this year.
"I don't think I've ever publicly said this, but in my work sphere within politics, my experience with assault and victimisation in the workplace was personally validated by the trailblazing disclosures of Chelsey Potter, Dhanya Mani and Rachelle Miller. Listening to their stories, I felt such an immediate sense of shared grief. Although what we each endured was different, there are enough similarities that it made me feel a little bit less alone," she says.
Disclosures generated Higgins's own disclosure. Those stories from Potter, Mani and Miller confirmed to her that what happened to her was not an anomaly.
"As a result of their bravery, I decided to speak out. This is what happens when people hold space for you to give voice to your experience - you inadvertently give permission for others to share their truth. Today, I felt it was important to acknowledge them. It's gruelling opening up and exposing your most personal trauma to public scrutiny," Higgins says.
Next Tuesday, Janine Mohamed, the chief executive of the Lowitja Institute, will also deliver a speech, the annual address for the National Foundation of Australian Women. Mohamed will recall watching the marches inspired by Higgins's disclosures, of hearing voices roar across Australia, of surprise at the backlash and the divisions in our country.
Mohamed, a proud Narrunga Kaurna woman, will ask Australians to reassert our capacity to share what unites us: "We need to insist on the human ability and need to tell and hear each other's stories ... for me these stories are what bridges these divides, the ability to have the courageous conversations; and through them to build relationships."
And she will talk about those whose disclosures are rarely told or heard or accepted. She's thought a lot about the voices we never get to hear - Indigenous women.
"In the places where I live and work - the names of women whose voices are not heard, resonate profoundly and tragically for us," she says.
And even if Australians heard those names, heard those stories, we might not be prepared for the disclosures.
In her book, Talkin' Up to the White Woman, Goenpul distinguished professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson reveals the way in which the lives of Aboriginal women are reproduced and configured differently to white women. We aren't interested in those disclosures. It's that horrible conjunction of misogyny and racism.
Moreton-Robinson says it is an acknowledgment of some form of power to be heard.
"But at the same time, if you are an Aboriginal woman you will not necessarily grab the same attention," she says.
"Look at the outpouring of emotion over young Cleo Smith - and yet there have been so many Aboriginal kids who have disappeared [with] no real public outcry."
She's right. Just ask yourself if there is as much attention when an Aboriginal child goes missing, compared to Cleo. Jesinta Franklin, partner of AFL genius Lance Franklin, will tell you the answer.
"Without taking away from the joy of finding a missing child alive and well, I can't help but think about the disparity that exists in this country between missing children who are white and Indigenous children when it comes to the visibility and coverage of the case," she wrote on Instagram before deleting the post (I am assuming because people were being hideous arseholes).
UQ's Moreton-Robinson says if you are an Aboriginal woman, you are not likely to get the same attention. No matter whether you are missing or murdered, no matter your disclosures or your pain.
"Disclosure can be political. That young woman who was allegedly raped in Parliament, if she hadn't disclosed we would not have known about the misogynist culture in Parliament. To some degree the public is really ignorant of those things. If we understand the personal is political, then disclosure is a political act," she says.
And, of course, disclosure can retraumatise. As Moreton-Robinson puts it: what is required of you is a reiteration, and that can be just as harmful.
"Whose disclosure counts?" she asks.
Indeed. Who is missing?
As Tahnee Jash says so powerfully: "We need an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls right now - not just for those who've lost their lives, but for their families who deserve justice."
To fix this country, we need justice. To fix this country, we must make sure every disclosure counts, no matter who.
- Jenna Price is a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and a regular columnist.