Allegations of rape against two members of Australia’s ruling Liberal Party have already sparked widespread protests and demands for an end to violence against women.
But A shocking video leaked This week a male staff member masturbates at the desk of a female MP to see if they have brought a new depth of contempt, calling critics’ statements a new culture of reform and a misleading culture running through Australian society.
“There is clearly a problem with poisonous masculinity in parliament,” said Jenin Hendry, organizer of a nationwide protest on March 4. “But the horrible thing is that these are our children, young people and women, being influenced by role models.”
Melbourne academic Hendry led thousands of protesters last week, setting the mood Frustration and anger. Protesters have called for legal reforms to protect women and a government investigation into allegations of rape against members of both parties.
The protests have put pressure on the Liberal Party government, which has accused the opposition of raping party advisers shortly before the 2014 election.
However, they also highlight the widespread problem of sexual harassment and violence against women in a country where an average of one woman dies every week in domestic violence.
The issue exploded in the national program last month when former Liberal Party adviser Brittany Higgins Accused A colleague raped her in 2012 in the parliamentary office of the defense industry minister. Higgins reported the incident to police but initially did not pursue the complaint because he felt his “work was in line.”
Linda Reynolds, the then Secretary of Defense and her boss at the time, was forced to compensate and apologize to Higgins for calling her a “lying cow” when she made the allegations public last month.
Two weeks later, Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter, Denied He allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988 during a debate contest. The woman who complained to police later committed suicide but her friends demanded an independent investigation. The request was rejected by the government.
“For many, this is the last straw. It’s so heinous, an alleged rape at the highest levels of government, “Olivia Patterson said during a protest outside Sydney Town Hall last week.
“Lots of women have been sexually assaulted and people are exhausted,” he said, holding up another placard. “I’ve seen better cabinets at IKEA.”
The level of the sexual harassment crisis was unveiled this month through an online application calling for consent to teach before sex education in schools. The PetitionChanel Contos, a former Sydney schoolgirl, posted about 40,000 signatures and more than 3,700 testimonies of torture.
Hendry was reading about Contos’ application at breakfast with his 1-year-old son and told the Financial Times that a few testimonials had brought him to tears.
“I just thought, ‘This is my son’s life, this is his future,'” Hendry, who posted on Twitter, said.
Hannah McGlade, a human rights lawyer and survivor of sexual harassment, was one of thousands of women who responded to the call and spoke at a protest in Perth.
He claimed that sexual abuse had become normal during the colonization of Australia and that a “mako culture” was still developing.
McGlade, who wrote a PhD on sexual violence, said, “White men could rape and kill primitive women at the border.” “And, you know, we haven’t made that much progress.”
McGlade said the government’s failure to pass or implement reforms to the National Human Rights Act proposed by the Human Rights Commission last year Awaken an investigation The incident of sexual harassment in the workplace was a clear failure.
She added that there was a need for deep cultural change in the vicinity of equality for women and indigenous peoples.
Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, this week denied Labor’s claim that his government had accused Higgins of rape and that he had made obscene appeals to change public attitudes towards women.
He is preparing a cabinet reshuffle, which will likely remove Reynolds and Porter from their portfolios in a bid to quell public outrage. However, the Prime Minister failed to propose such effective measures to address the fundamental concerns of the judges on March 4.
Hendry is not disappointed. Instead, he is building a grassroots movement that he believes can force the reforms needed to clean up politics and break the culture that pervades society.
“It could well be identified as the #MeToo movement in Australia,” he said. “I’m sure it will bring about the kind of structural change we’ve seen in the UK and the US in terms of equality and sexual harassment.”