The Silent Tears Project

Co-presented with the Centre for Disability Research and Policy at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney

6 April, 2016

Social movements have risen and fallen throughout history, and today, the impact of technology accelerates this process in global social environments that remain disconnected. The topic of violence against women with disability is only now entering the conversation on gender-based violence.

Recognition that violence does happen to women with disabilities and that violence causes disability is the first step in creating environments of social and economic sustainability for all women who are impacted by violence. Their lived experience is multi-faceted and formed at the intersections of their identity, gender and culture, making gender based violence difficult to resolve unless a holistic approach is undertaken.

How could an inclusive and holistic approach be made sustainable whilst the recognition of diversity expands and implodes across these intersections?

Silent Tears is a multi-media exhibition by internationally renowned photographer Belinda Mason, and emerging artists Dieter Knierim, Margherita Coppolino and Disability Consultant Denise Beckwith. The exhibition reveals the lived experience of 20 women with disability who were subjected to violence and women with disability who have acquired disability as a result of violence.

The display from the Silent Tears multi-media exhibition, at the Herbert Freehills Law Library at the University of Sydney Law School until 22 April, provides the platform for a discussion by an expert panel on the violence against women with disability and sustainable and inclusive approaches to preventing and addressing violence against all women.

Join us for a special presentation by two of the artists, Belinda Mason and Denise Beck followed by a panel discussion on the issues.


  • Professor Gwyneth Llewellyn, (participating chair) Director of Centre for Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney
  • Susan Salthouse, Member of the COAG Advisory Panel to reduce violence against women
  • Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Associate Professor Kirsty Foster, Medical Education, Associate Dean (International) and Head Global Health, Sydney Medical School
  • Morgan Carpenter, Co-Chair of national intersex organisation, OII Australia