Survivor Advocate, Sarah Williams Named Newcastle Woman of the Year
At just age 22, Sarah Williams the founder of What Were You Wearing Australia has been named 2023 Newcastle Woman of the Year.
Sarah currently is a Bachelor of Law and Communications student at the University of Newcastle, volunteers over 50 hours a week to WWYW and is a Full Stop Australia, Survivor Advocates Advisory Group member.
Since starting WWYW in 2021, Sarah has beaten all odds and really got the whole of Newcastle talking about ending sexual violence. Sarah has collected over 20,503 stories from survivors, established the first ever survivor advocates group within universities and aired the first ever exhibition on sexual assault awareness.
In addition to this she has created a safe space on TikTok for her over 82,000 followers. She continues to be beacon of hope for survivors and our wider community.
Although Sarah has achieved wonders, she hasn’t had it easy. Sarah grew up in family violence and will forever carry with her the troubles of being a child sex abuse survivor.
“It definitely hasn’t been easy. There’s the constant battle of being a victim- survivor everyday, but what’s most important to me is helping everyone else”.
Sarah’s selflessness nature continues within her advocacy where she won Youth of the Year from the Newcastle Business Club, NSW Volunteer of the Year by Youth Action and Student Entrepreneur of the Year by the University of Newcastle.
The award was given by Labor MP for Newcastle, Tim Crakenthorp. Tim and Sarah are currently working closely on a drink spiking campaign to bring mandatory training to NSW.
In 2023 Sarah hopes to continue her advocacy in ways never done before. She wants people all over the country to be talking about sexual violence awareness in hopes that more people will start to call out misogyny and sexism.
WWYW and Sarah in 2023 will bring back much needed and essential workshops for survivors. Currently there are no readily available workshops for survivors solely focusing on sexual violence in the Hunter.
“I think we are so lucky, the community and people in Newcastle and the Hunter are so passionate and open to making change. I really hope the community continues to rally behind the cause, as so much more if needing to be done to officially attack this issue”.