Thousands of people with posters and banners gather in Sydney, Australia on Monday calling for justice for women. The rally was one of several across Australia, including Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart. Rick Rycroft / AP Hide caption
Rick Rycroft / AP
Rick Rycroft / AP
Tens of thousands of people marched across Australia on Monday to protest sexual violence, harassment and gender inequality in the country after a wave of sexual assault allegations linked to parliament.
March4Justice’s demonstrations, planned in at least 47 locations across Australia on Monday, came after recent allegations made by the government of allegations of supporting the misogynist culture of a “boys’ club”.
The march came when lawyers in the UK also urged government officials to do more to protect the women who followed the murder Sarah Everard, 33, who was killed in London when she went home earlier this month.
Australian Attorney General Christian Porter was involved in a rape allegation in 1988. Earlier this month he revealed that he was the subject of an allegation that he raped a 16-year-old girl when he was a teenager. He has emphatically denied the claim. The victim committed suicide last year.
Brittany Higgins, a former employee of the ruling center-right Liberal Party of Australia, stepped forward last month to report that she was raped in a minister’s office in 2019. The party has since been reviewed on the way it handled its case and how officials, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, have responded to their allegations.
As Higgins came forward four other women I said the same nameless man raped her too.
Higgins appeared at a March 4 demonstration in front of the Australian Parliament on Monday, speaking of her alleged rape.
“This is not a political problem. This is a human problem,” she told the crowd. “We have all learned in the past few weeks the prevalence of gender-based violence in this country. It is time for our leaders on both sides of politics to stop shunning the public and bypassing accountability. It is time that we are actually dealing with the problem. ”
Call to action
March4Justice filed a petition to Morrison on Monday urging the government to take immediate action following the protests.
they required independent investigations into all cases of gender-based violence; for the country to fully implement the recommendations of the Australian Commission on Human Rights National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces in 2020; more resources for gender-based violence prevention; and a statewide gender equality law.
Morrison invited a delegation from the organization to meet in the parliament building on Sunday, but the protest organizers resisted. They argued that he and other government officials should meet with them during the rally.
March organizer Janine Hendry tweeted Monday: “We have already arrived at the front door, now it is up to the government to cross the threshold and come to us. We will not meet behind closed doors.”
Morrison also made comments on Monday that were criticizedand seen by some as a threat as the protests continued outside Parliament.
He said it was “right and good” for people to be able to take part in peaceful protests in Australia, adding, “Not far from here such marches are still being hit with bullets, but not here in this country.”
Attendees hope Monday’s events will mark a turning point in Australian society.
Victoria’s Secretary for Women Gabrielle Williams said It showed that women were no longer willing to remain silent about the effects of sexual violence on their lives.
“What we see now is the community sending a message that they are ready to have this conversation publicly. More than ready, they are excited to have the conversation now,” she said.