Thousands of people marched across Australia to protest against sexual violence and abuse to women in the country. Protests sparked by the recent wave of sexual assault allegations in parliament. The charges have focused on the Conservative government. Protesters said the government’s response to allegations of sexual assault is inadequate.
How was the protests sparked?
The protests came a week ago after Attorney General Christian Porter revealed that he had raped in 1988, which he always denies. Another case that of Brittany Higgins, a former political adviser who claimed in February that she was raped in the cabinet in 2019. It has also sparked public outrage.
However, cases in Parliament shed light on sexist culture and the way. Sexual violence and harassment is also handled more strongly in all areas of Australian society. The protesters also claim that the state’s attitude towards those who have spoken so far is unacceptable.
What happened in protests against sexual violence?
Protests against sexual violence took place on Monday in 40 cities of Australia, including the major cities of Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. Whereas many brought posters and dressed in black in protest.
In Melbourne, protesters carried long banners with the names of women killed in sexual violence over the past decade. In Canberra rally organizers petitioned case file with more than 90,000 signatures calling for greater accountability for sexist behavior. This could be “the biggest women’s uprising or #MeToo Movement in Australia.”
They also urged Mr. Porter to stay away. Many have requested a separate investigation into the charges against him. Whereas Porter said he would sue the Australian television company on charges of defamation.
Critics also say the government is slow and ineffective in responding to broader accusations of sexism and misogyny in parliamentary culture. Furthermore, the opposition Labor Party said it would rethink its culture after making dozens of anonymous allegations of sexual harassment.
Ms. Higgins spoke to protestors
Higgins first spoke about the alleged rape by a colleague on February 15 – and this sparked a wave of other women also sharing their stories. Her story is on the front page because it is a painful reminder to women that it can really happen anywhere.
Speaking to thousands of protesters outside Parliament, Higgins said: “There is horrible public acceptance of sexual violence experienced by women in Australia.” She also criticized Mr. Morrison for using unacceptable and non-caring “victim blame” language in discussing her allegations case.
How the government responded to this outrage?
Moreover, many have asked the government to investigate the allegations against Mr. Porter. They also want an independent investigation into the case and other allegations of sexual harassment in Australian politics.
Organizer of protests said that “We are at the front door, government must cross the threshold and meet us”, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to meet with protesters and forced to defend his decision in parliament. He also declined the call by saying the matter should only be handled by the police.