Sydney Salvos Protest: It’s the Beginning, Not the End

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Dear readers,

This post is to announce that unfortunately Stephanie Calabornes will not be able to continue her Protests due to ill health brought on in part by the intensity of her activities and in part by the additional level of stress induced by the Salvation Army’s heavy-handed behaviour that has had a detrimental effect on her stress levels (and therefore health) as well.

Stephanie withstood several attempts to stray her from her course, including threats of being sued, personal slurs on her name, and the police being called on two occasions, which, although patently ridiculous, were nevertheless highly stressful. She took these in her stride, and saw these efforts for what they were – attempts to muzzle her voice and stop her speaking out about problems in the Salvation Army. When the police were unnecessarily called because the Salvation Army didn’t like one of her placards (see previous posting: Sydney Salvos Protest: Salvos Object to Protest Placard, Call Police), she even resolved to protest longer than originally planned, because she wanted to show the Salvation Army that this sort of tactic simply wasn’t going to work.

When I called Stephanie the other night, however, the strain and exhaustion in her voice were evident. Stephanie is one of the proudest people I know, and she is, from what I’ve learned in the short time I’ve known her, not the sort of person who feels comfortable talking about things that are causing her problems in her own life. She spends most of her time standing up for other people or speaking out about injustice, and tends to minimise her own difficulties. It was only the other night that I learned that Stephanie has chronic lymphatic leukaemia, amongst other health complaints. I’d known she had a difficult childhood, including time in an orphanage, and that she had been assaulted at a Salvation Army centre as an adult, but not the full extent of the traumas she’s endured throughout her life, or her health issues. I had enormous respect for Stephanie already, but now have an even greater level of respect for her in pushing on for as long as she did, and for speaking out on the issues that matter despite it all.

Naturally, Stephanie was incredibly disappointed about not being in a position to continue with her protest (it took a good couple of hours to convince her it was okay to stop and that she wasn’t letting anyone down if she did!!), but I’m grateful that she put herself first in this case. I’m not sure she believed me when I said that she’d already achieved an incredible amount in the time she was protesting, but I hope she will, in time, come to see just how much she achieved in the 12 days she was able to maintain her protest.

Here are just some of the things that Stephanie achieved:

  • Stephanie (and the wonderful people who came to join her on various days) handed out an estimated 3,500 leaflets, thus expanding dramatically the number of people who will now hopefully go to the White Shield Appeal campaign (whiteshieldappeal.org) website to learn more about aspects of the Salvation Army that the organisation would prefer that people not think about.
  • Even people who did not take a leaflet saw the protest signs and came away with an understanding that there are people who have serious issues with the Salvation Army and these people will hopefully do some research of their own to learn more about problems in the Salvation Army.
  • Several members of the public who were not at all familiar with problems within the Salvation Army stopped to talk to Stephanie to find out more about why she was protesting, and will now hopefully go away and talk to friends, family, and work colleagues, etc., about what they were told and thus spread the message that all is not good with the Salvation Army.
  • Several people stopped to talk to Stephanie to tell her about problems they too had experienced in their dealings with the Salvation Army (including several who provided further confirmation of the things Stephanie was saying), and many of these people have now gotten in touch asking what they can do to assist with future protests or actions or simply to speak about other problems of which I was not aware.
  • The Salvation Army conceded part-way through the protest that it needed to look into the matters raised in two new petitions on the White Shield Appeal campaign website (whiteshieldappeal.org) – plaques on girls’ homes and not wearing triggering uniforms near people abused by Salvation Army members (including at the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse). I very much doubt that without the high level of attention on the organisation during Stephanie’s protest there would have been even the small concessions that have occurred (please check back on this petitions for updates on these petitions).
  • Stephanie engaged in conversations with a few members of the Salvation Army who, it is hoped, have come away with a greater appreciation of the concerns of the community and (hopefully) attempt to get others in the organisation to see that things need to be done differently.
  • Stephanie engaged in conversations with several people who, although not members of the Salvation Army, support it, but need to know that there are people the Salvation Army has harmed and who are still being treated badly. Again, it is hoped that these people will also do something to attempt to bring about change within the Salvation Army, perhaps by Tell the Salvation Army senior members and expressing themselves.

This post is to thank Stephanie for the incredible work that she has done over the last fortnight, under extremely taxing conditions. It is also to thank the wonderful people who joined Stephanie at various times throughout her protest and to all of the people who promoted or talked about the protest on Twitter and facebook and through emails. It is also to thank the wonderful people who emailed or phoned through to say how much they appreciated what Stephanie was doing. 

The job for now is to build on Stephanie’s efforts to keep the ball rolling. I and others who have offered to help will now turn our attention to this. The White Shield Appeal campaign website is now reasonably sufficiently established to provide a platform for people who have concerns about the Salvation Army to do things such as:

  • Have a central platform to promote petitions demanding changes (we will help you by promoting your petition as widely as we can);
  • Have a central platform to promote future protests against the Salvation Army (we will help you by promoting your planned protests to the media and on social media); and
  • Have a way of showing others how even relatively low-involvement actions (‘acts of resistance’) such as (e.g.) sticking up posters on community noticeboards asking people to (e.g.) go and look at the White Shield Appeal campaign website can be powerful tools for raising awareness in the community of problems with the Salvation Army.

Over coming weeks, I’ll be getting in touch with all who have contacted me throughout Stephanie’s protest and seeing what we can do to help in various ways, and not just in the ways listed above. If you haven’t already contacted me and want to be kept updated by email about things like planned protests, new petitions, etc., please get in touch via the Contact page on this site to let me know you want to be kept in the loop, and I’ll add you to my mailing list. More importantly, if you have been inspired by Stephanie’s protest, and want to take some form of action of your own (e.g., start a petition, mount a protest, etc.), and want a hand with ideas or anything else, please also get in touch. 

As I said to Stephanie last night when she was expressing her distress that this would be the end of things, “Don’t think of this as the end; it’s only the beginning.”

Aletha

Aletha Blayse

http://www.lewisblayse.net

http://www.whiteshieldappeal.org

Twitter: @alethab

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13 Responses to Sydney Salvos Protest: It’s the Beginning, Not the End

  1. Madeline says:

    I don’t understand how my memories of Neerkol are so different to others. Don’t know if I’m subconsciously refusing to remember or there is nothing else to remember! I was at Neerkol for 12 years 1960 – 1972

  2. Caroline says:

    There are certain things that you do not know about Stephanie Calabornes – including how many times that she committed illegal acts – and that she has refused to pay any of the money that has been ordered by two courts for her to provide – not one cent has been paid by her. Stephanie Calabornes claimed that she would get down on her hands and knees and tell a judge that she did not owe me any money and ask for a re-trial of the matters – something that she has failed to do. As such, I believe that she has accepted the debt and has not paid any money towards same.

    It was only last Christmas Eve that Stephanie Calabornes was making certain false claims to me. Whilst I feel empathy for her current medical condition, I believe that not all of the information has been made available to you by her – including the full extent of her criminal history.

    Does Stephanie Calabornes not define accountability equally? Where is her accountability when it comes to any outstanding debts?

    Stephanie Calabornes once agreed to make some payments to me and defaulted on all of them.

    The Facebook information that I received from Stephanie Calabornes last Christmas Eve, I believe, indicates that little has changed with regard to her behaviour regarding her unwillingness to completely deal with her own responsibilities.

    • STEPHANIE CALABORNES says:

      I know who you are and as stated before there is no way that you will illegally try to obtain funds from me over what you have done over any years. You have had enough. The deceit continued even to present day is enough and has occurred over years. Time to stop with the games. Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2014 11:12:32 +0000 To: stephcalabornes@hotmail.com

      • Caroline says:

        I have had enough of your illegal activity. No games. No deception. No false claims at my end. Obviously, two court cases did not determine that sentiment that there was an attempt to obtain funds illegally. You had multiple chances to appeal – repeatedly stated that you would do so – and did not. As such, you did not contest the debts – not that you would have stood a chance anyway. Incidentally, how is your housebreaking skills these days? Precisely how many signatures have you forged over the years? Coming from a person who took $500 from me in advance for some gardening work and worked approximately half of the time and refused to return the remainder, the response that you gave here is what I would expect.

        • lewisblayse says:

          Hi Caroline. It might be best if you contact me directly through the contact page on this site so we can speak directly. I’ll give you a number to call if you’d like to talk to me. I would like to get to the bottom of this, if possible, but this forum probably isn’t the best place to do this. Aletha.

        • lewisblayse says:

          Hi Caroline. Thank you for contacting me today through this site. Based on what you say, I have quite a high level of concern for my safety. You’re under no obligation, of course, to contact me again, but if you did feel safe providing me with a contact number on which I might speak further with you, I would be most grateful. I would understand, however, if this was not something you felt comfortable doing. I’d like to give you my number to call if you saw fit, but would prefer not to post it in a public forum, for obvious reasons. If you would like to talk but don’t feel comfortable providing a contact phone number, perhaps you might be willing to provide an email address if you were to contact me again. I could then send you my phone contact.

  3. Hannelore Worrall (Majewski) says:

    Four Corners on the ABC has just finished. It is the 11 August 2014. I am so angry, never been more angry in my life. Julia Gillard announce A Royal Commission into Institutional Allegations of child sex abuse in Australia. All I have seen or read since this started. is of Persons who had Mothers and Fathers, going to private schools, a good home, food to eat, cloths to wear, very good schooling, not made to feel ashamed of there lives, the list goes on. etc.etc. Persons who have received up to $800,000.00 from the Catholic Church. Not one of these persons where Committed Children where the government t could with the child what they liked. Taken from any type of family they may have had. To be taken to a place where no one ever knew that there were children in locked dormitories. Always hungry, no cloths on their bodies or very little, a sheet on the horse hair bed, worked till a little child could not keep going. Punishment beyond belief. So scared, fear from internal gangs. Never saw a doctor in a child’s life. And sexual abuse as a baby, teenager, and mid thirties. Broken down by the age of 21.Living on large doses of medication to keep alive. All the children who have died or taken their lives. How many have suffered mental illness, or ended in prision. All the adults who are so sick now. Where is our fair go. Why is it only one on one. and so many of us where given small amounts the same lawyers threat, sign here (we all know how it goes) The cruel ness of thousands of children lives seem to not mean anything. Why are the Australians only seeing this side of the Catholic Church and other big players like the Salvation Army. The payments others have receive must be given to all children who were in institutional care. I like many other children have lost our whole life. Paraded before a court age 3, can’t even see over the stand. Status of defendant “Docile”. Dad’s money taken away from him for 15 years and chased liked a mongrel dog. spoke very little English and no ATM”s in those days. If payments of this kind can be made to few, payments can be made to us all. It must be done this way. It must be made fair to all the children who suffered so badly or there children. I am so tired of all the bullshit. This all started for me in 1992 while visiting Father Durham. It has not stoped. THE SUFFERING OF CHILDREN IN INSTITUTIONAL – ORPHANAGES WAS WAY BEOND ANY ORDINARY PERSONS THINKING. I HOPE THE ROYAL COMMISSION WILL GIVE US JUSTICE AS I SAW ON FOUR CORNERS to-night 11 AUGUST 2014.
    Thank you for letting me write. It is not JUSTICE, WE ALL DESERVE THE SAME MAYBE MORE.

  4. Why should Stephanie forgive the unforgivable, Brenda?

  5. It was sad that the wording of the placards were inappropriate – as discussed before – but Stephanie’s heart was in the right place – it was a shame some one did not assist her with the wording of her placards as we must all be carefully not to defame others as the law does not allow us that right – may Stephanie gain healing and hopefully forgiveness in her heart – so she can enjoy many peaceful times ahead.

    • Stephanie Calabornes, you are one amazing person. To take on a protest on your own against a power full unit like the Salvation Army. Stephanie it is humans like yourself who will get there just reward in the end. I am gob smacked by Brenda being concerned about place cards. What is happening in Australia. This lady was abused along with many thousands more as children and adults. All these big charity groups just don’t give a dame. Place cards!!!! when children have died and are in the stages of dieing as adults right this minute. When are the Salvation Army going to face up to the fact that they have done WRONG by children and adults. Before Stephanie can even begin to heal. The Salvation Army need to HEAR HER and go to work to make the past mistakes right for Stephanie and all others involved. STOP hiding in your fancy offices and making sure you have enough money, come to the adults now who need your help more than ever. Do not let more past children DIE before helping them recover from the living hell they new as children. I KNOW ONLY TOO WELL. Very proud of you Stephanie.

      • lewisblayse says:

        Thank you so much, Hannelore. You’re a truly lovely person with such passion and commitment to all those who’ve been hurt, and your comment is just wonderful.

        Love,
        Aletha

      • stephanie calabornes says:

        Hi Hannelore and all. The Salvation Army is a corporate machine, with very little substance. That is how I managed to simply stand there, because I knew this. Their attempts to have me quashed fell on deaf ears. Brenda might be aligned with Salvation Army in one level and another, for all I may know. If Salvation Army spent more time CARING for community as it says it does, rather than abuse in so many differing ways, past and present then it would not have to continue their protection racket for staff. One of the more important comments in agreement with me from employees was the need to get people into the organization that KNEW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Keep in mind this corporate wealth creator have been going for over 120 years. Time for Salvation Army to start doing right by people it has abused time and time again. Time for Governments too to enforce accountability with these so called ‘ charities’ The profiteering must stop and the truths must begin. I will do all in my power for some time to enforce accountability. SADLY Salvation Army should not have to be forced. They should already be doing it.
        I have been told many times by someone, that I need an ally, even if it is just one. Now Aletha and I have crossed paths I have that ally, and I wont allow the opportunity, the knowledge and awareness I have to be not utilized in the best ways possible.

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