Australia

‘Open threats’: Grace Tame alleges online harassment by man convicted of abusing her

This article contains references to sexual assault and child abuse.
Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame has alleged she continues to face “open threats and harassment” from the man who abused her when she was a teenager.
Ms Tame was groomed and sexually abused by her high school teacher Nicolaas Bester, who was convicted of abusing her and possessing child exploitation material.
In a series of tweets on Monday, the activist and advocate alleged Bester was threatening an act of revenge.
She said she had reported the alleged online harassment to the police, but nothing had been done.
“This has been the reality for 12 years now, behind closed doors for my family and me,” she wrote.

She posted the comments alongside screenshots of the tweets, allegedly from an account belonging to Bester.

In the screenshots, the user appears to be counting down the days until they can “come for” somebody and references an email address.
Ms Tame said the email referenced the login to her old Facebook account, which they had communicated on in the past.

“These threats clearly constitute a federal offence and contravene Twitter’s child exploitation policy, which states that it is prohibited to contribute to the re-victimisation and re-traumatisation of a child sexual abuse survivor,” Ms Tame wrote.

“This is targeted harassment of a known victim of his past crimes, designed to cause further harm. I’ve reported them to police, but our reactive justice system is too slow, and nothing’s changed. I know this is an experience many others would be able to relate to.”
The account in question has now been suspended by Twitter.
Tasmania Police confirmed that Ms Tame had made a complaint, but could not provide further details “for legal reasons”.

“Tasmania Police is assessing the complaint and Ms Tame has been provided with advice,” Tasmania Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Wilkinson said in a statement.

Bester was sentenced to jail for two years and ten months in 2011 for what is now referred to as persistent sexual abuse against Ms Tame.
Bester was Ms Tame’s school teacher at a private girls’ school in Tasmania, where she was repeatedly groomed by him as a teenager.
In 2016, he returned to prison for four months for describing the possession of child abuse material as “awesome” on social media.
“Judging from the emails and tweets I’ve received the majority of men in Australia envy me. I was 59. She was 15 going on 25 … It was awesome,” he wrote at the time.
Ms Tame gained public recognition following her ‘Let Her Speak’ campaign alongside Nina Funnell, which led to the overturning of laws that prohibited sexual assault victims from speaking about their experiences.
In January 2021, she was named Australian of the Year.
In December 2021, she launched the Grace Tame Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established to campaign for and help fund initiatives that work to prevent and respond to sexual abuse of children and others.
Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at and .

Anyone seeking information or support relating to sexual abuse can contact Bravehearts on 1800 272 831 or Blue Knot on 1300 657 380.

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