Bec Acopio will launch her book I Did Not Give Them My Consent at Lifeline Hunter

Newcastle sexual assault victim finds freedom Speaking Out: Bec Acopio has written a book about being a sexual assault survivor. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

Maryland’s Bec Acopio. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison is shadow minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Bec Acopio.

Bec Acopio.

TweetFacebookSexual assault survivor Bec Acopio has urged other victims to never give up hope.

Ms Acopio, of Maryland, will on Friday launch her book, titledI Did Not Give Them My Consent,at Lifeline Hunter at Islington.

The Newcastle Herald first reported Ms Acopio’s story in August, in which she revealed that shewas allegedly sexually assaulted by three men in separate incidents in Lake Macquarie more than 20 years ago.

After the story was published in the Herald, Ms Acopio said “I am free”.

The launch of her book is another step in her journey towards healing.

“It’s abig relief for me,” Ms Acopio said, of her book.

“I’m trying to get others to speak out. They don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed or be silenced anymore.”

She moved to from the Philippines in 1989. She believes her Filipino background and “being an Asian girl” were factors in the sex crimes allegedly perpetrated against her.

Since her story in the Herald, she received positive and negative feedback from Newcastle’s Filipino community.

“Some said ‘good on you for speaking up, it’s courageous’. Other negative people said ‘why did you do that for’.”

She stood by her right to tell her story publicly and live her life her way, having suffered extreme depression, severe anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal thoughtsfor more than20 years.

“I do not care what negative or judgemental peoplesay about me,” she said.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison revealed in theHeraldin May that she was a sexual assault victim.

Her story prompted Ms Acopio to come forward.

Ms Aitchison, who is shadow minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault, will help launch Ms Acopio’s book.

“It’s good to have an authentic voice, particularly someonefrom a migrant communitywhere there can bebig taboos about speaking out,” Ms Aitchison said.

She said Ms Acopio had an “extraordinary kind of courage”.

“It just goes to show that breaking the silence actually works, not just for you but for the next person. It makes it easier for them to tell their story.”

Lifeline regional managerRob Sams saidMsAcopio’s book is about heartache and pain, but alsohope.

“Reading Bec’s book, I was impressed by the way she sought help. Through the support of many in our local community, including Lifeline, she found hope for a future free of fear and anxiety,” Mr Sams said.

The book will befor sale at the launch andfrom Booktopia and Amazon.

The NSW Rape Crisis line is 1800 424 017 andLifeline is on 13 11 14.

Kids Helpline is on 1800 551 800 and MensLine is on 1300 789 978.

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