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Belinda Knierim OAM

“Often, marginalised women with disability who have lived experience of violence have limited opportunities and resources to attend forums such as the United Nations,” says Belinda Knierim OAM. 

A black and white photo of a woman with long hair

“So it was an honour to empower such a group of women to speak at the UN Commission on the Status of Women Side Event, ‘Silent Tears’. Through being seen and heard at an international forum, their lived experiences were validated ─ well before the announcement of the Disability Royal Commission. Creating this opportunity for them to be seen and heard was very special.” 

Buoyed by the strength, courage and resilience of people with lived experience of multiple discrimination that she collaborated with, Mrs Knierim says she also feels the heavy weight of the responsibility of their trust. 

“They share with me their most intimate thoughts and emotions about the times in their lives when they have felt the most vulnerable and alone.” 

Mrs Knierim was initially shocked when learning she was being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.  

“When I realised it wasn’t a prank, I cried.” 

“I would like to thank my precious family as well as Aunty Polly Sumner, Aunty June Oscar, Aunty Gayle Rankine and Uncle Col Watego for their guidance and support.”