The Catholic church has tolerated and covered up the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children.Claire Drylie
MORE than 100 people came together in Warrnambool on the eve of Cardinal George Pell's sentencing to issue a powerful message.
The fence of St Joseph's church is now adorned with hundreds of colourful ribbons to acknowledge the suffering of victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Warrnambool's Claire Drylie was involved in encouraging people to add to the Loud fence on Tuesday night.
She said it was a powerful and moving visual statement.
"The Catholic church has tolerated and covered up the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children," Ms Drylie said.
"I think the tide has turned and people are aware of it now.
"The church is aware they're not going to get away with it anymore."
Ms Drylie said she was relieved Cardinal Pell had been sentenced to six years' jail with a non-parole period of three years and eight months after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting two choir boys.
When tying her ribbon to the fence, Ms Drylie said her thoughts went to a family friend who took his own life after he was abused by a priest at a young age.
"I personally know one beautiful man who took his own life when he was 40 because he wasn't believed," Ms Drylie said.
"The Loud fence itself is a very powerful statement and I hope people will think about the victims when they add their own ribbon."
Ms Drylie said the first Loud fence was created in Ballarat and the movement had become an "international phenomenon".
She said she was also grateful Father John Fitzgerald had supported the Loud fence. "Hopefully the Loud fence will be there for a long time," Ms Drylie said.
One of Pell's victims issued a statement after the sentence was revealed.
"I respect what the judge said. It was meticulous and it was considered," he said.
The victim said he appreciated court had acknowledged what was inflicted upon him as a child.
"However, there is no rest for me. Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal," he said.
The victim said he was awaiting the outcome of the appeal.
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