Thousands of protestors gather at APH to demand an end to gendered violence

Dominic Giannini 16 March 2021 20
March 4 Justice protest

Thousands of people rallied in front of Parliament House for the March 4 Justice. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Thousands of protestors gathered outside Parliament House today (15 March) to demand an end to gendered violence and action on the toxic workplace culture within the building, including allegations of sexual assault.

Rallies took place all across Australia today in response to allegations made by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins that she was raped in the Defence Minister’s office by a co-worker, as well as a historical rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter.

Mr Porter has denied the accusation and announced on the morning of the marches that he would sue the ABC for defamation over the allegations.

Speakers at the event – including Ms Higgins – shared stories of assault and harassment and encouraged other women to come forward and stand up.

March 4 Justice

Thousands of people rallied in front of Parliament House for the March 4 Justice. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Ms Higgins said the current system was broken.

“I was raped inside Parliament House by a colleague, and for so long, it felt like the people around me only cared because of what happened and what it might mean for them,” she said.

“These are the people making our laws and governing the country.

“If they aren’t committed to addressing these issues in their own offices, what confidence can the women of Australia have that they will be proactive in addressing this issue in the broader community?”

The crowd of mostly women also expressed their frustration at the misogyny they had experienced and their anger at responses from the Prime Minister and government after both rape allegations were aired.

One woman, Jodi, said that women are beyond frustrated.

“Women are angry at every person with the ability to make a difference sitting in Parliament House and not [being] here, committed to genuinely listen and committed to making a change,” she said.

March 4 Justice

Thousands of people rallied in front of Parliament House for the March 4 Justice. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Anna, who was there with her family, was equally livid that she had to march in 2021, echoing the words of Ms Higgins that “we are not here because we want to be but because we have to be”.

“The statistics are disgustingly overwhelming, and this issue touches everyone in this crowd,” Anna said.

“These last two weeks have shown that this particular government takes very little interest in righting the wrongs within the walls of their own offices, let alone the rest of the country. I feel angry and empowered and want to see that change.

“It is distressing that we have generations of our family here who have come out here many times already, and they are here supporting us as the next generation, and inevitably there [will be] a further generation again.”

March 4 Justice

Thousands of people rallied in front of Parliament House for the March 4 Justice. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Standing side by side with Anna, Carrie reiterated that it was about visibility. She said that you cannot be what you cannot see.

“How are we supposed to encourage our sons, our mates and other men, but equally us women, to stand up for each other if that does not bleed through from the top down to everyone else?” she said.

“You cannot see that accountability and transparency happening in the highest office of the land.”

The Prime Minister did not attend the rally, but politicians from all sides of politics did, including ACT senators Katy Gallagher and Zed Seselja, Chief Minister Andrew Barr, ACT Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee and ACT MLAs from Labor, the Greens and the Canberra Liberals.

If this story has brought up any issues, you can contact the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre’s support line on 6247 2525 between 7:00 am and 11:00 pm for all counselling-related inquiries, including all appointments and referrals.

1800RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service, can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 737 732.


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20 Responses to Thousands of protestors gather at APH to demand an end to gendered violence
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Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:58 am 17 Mar 21

According to a survey: https://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/eManuals/FVBBWeb/34623.htm

“lesbian women were more likely than gay men to report having been in an abusive same sex relationship (41 per cent and 28 per cent respectively).”

So it’s not always men leading in the domestic violence statistics.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:04 pm 16 Mar 21

I can’t believe that of the thousands claimed to be there, mostly female, none appear to have made a comment on this thread.

A lot of “out of towners” at the protest, perhaps?

    dolphin dolphin 9:15 pm 16 Mar 21

    what exactly are you trying to say with your commentary? that sexual violence isn’t a problem? that its all just made up and exagerated? that women should just stay quiet and not complain. that its only a small minority of women?

    Just pause for one moment and go and talk to any women you might know and really listen to their own experiences. I suspect not one of them would be surprised or shocked by the revelations of the last few weeks. Perhaps if you listened to what is going on you might have something positive to say

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:01 am 17 Mar 21

    Sexual violence has always been a problem but this demonstrations was very unfairly focused on the Morrison government as being the sole cause.

    bryansworld bryansworld 5:25 am 17 Mar 21

    I was there. I’m from Canberra. There were easily thousands of people there.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:02 am 17 Mar 21

    And how many did you know personally?

Acton Acton 1:25 pm 16 Mar 21

Are men or women more likely to be subjected to physical violence?

According to ABS statistics on personal safety, men are more likely than women to experience violence.

“Two in five people (39% or 7.2 million) aged 18 years and over experienced an incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 15, including 42% of men (3.8 million) and 37% of women (3.4 million).

Four in ten men (41% or 3.7 million) and three in ten women (31% or 2.9 million) experienced physical violence.”

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:35 pm 16 Mar 21

    Well, that must be wrong – doesn’t fit the narrative at all.

    keek keek 5:09 pm 16 Mar 21

    Will they believe the science in this case?
    I’m guessing not.

    dolphin dolphin 9:17 pm 16 Mar 21

    its not science – its statistics keek.

    keek keek 1:10 pm 17 Mar 21

    Well dolphin, please explain to me why statistics isn’t science? If I study statistics at university, it is under the faculty of Science. The former ANU Dean of science was a statistician.

    You are wrong. It is science. Believe the science. Women are less at risk of violence.

    dolphin dolphin 9:21 pm 16 Mar 21

    this is correct – and its a huge problem. violence of any sort is unacceptable. what you forget to mention is that the greatest perpetrators of that violence are men and it has to be addressed

    Acton Acton 6:39 am 17 Mar 21

    Dolphin: it is also a fact that violence against men and women has been a feature of every society, in every country, in every age and that our society now is far better than it has ever been. Blaming all men for the actions of a small minority suits the feminist agenda but is illogical, divisive and counter productive.
    Prisoner statistics on convicted perpetrators show that certain ethnicities are overly represented, Aboriginal, Lebanese, Pacific Islanders and Sudanese. However targeting resources on these communities specifically to address violence is met with objections from the blinkered feminist Left because targeted campaigns do not suit their anti-male narrative. Here is another inconvenient fact. Most domestic violence against children is perpetrated by women. Background and socio-economic factors are better indicators of future criminality than gender or ethnicity. But that concept is too complex for the chanting What Do We Want, When Do We Want It, Now mindset.

    chewy14 chewy14 7:36 am 17 Mar 21

    Dolphin,
    You’re right it is statistics. Statistics typically gathered from personal surveys which inherently have their own biases in being able to gather objective data on the scope of a problem.

    Secondly, with your comment, are you suggesting that a victim is less important If they share the same gender as their attacker? Seems a strange position to hold

    And if we are going to group people together by characteristics for some sort of collective blame, can we use other characteristics that have higher offending rates to do the same? What about race? Would you be OK with that?

    Hmmmm.

rsm1105 rsm1105 1:06 pm 16 Mar 21

If this is about accountability and transparency (which it should be), why are their different standards applied to those on the right v. those on the left?

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:56 pm 16 Mar 21

    Good question and an excellent example of that in action was on yesterday’s ABC TV presentation Afternoon Briefing hosted by Patricia Karvelas.

    She firstly interviewed government Senator and minister Jane Hume about the protest and went on the attack as only PK can. She even suggested that she wasn’t about to give Hume “a cuddle”. When finished, PK summarily dismissed Hume.

    Later in the show she interviewed Labor favourite Tony Burke and let him talk freely about anything he wanted to. No interruptions and demands like she was throwing at Hume.

    By the way, this is the same Tony Burke who knows a bit about staffers at Parliament House so he was a good authority to comment on some of the matters discussed at the protest:
    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/tony-burkes-taxpayerfunded-luxury-euro-tour-with-staffer-who-became-his-partner/news-story/f97a4fd6f8aa59c2055de0702a04f9fe

    Ask me again why there are different standards.

keek keek 12:39 pm 16 Mar 21

Can we demand an end to witch hunts based on unsubstantiated allegations?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:00 am 16 Mar 21

Are you sure there were thousands? Some media reports last night said hundreds.

    JS9 JS9 8:50 am 16 Mar 21

    Does it fundamentally matter?

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:53 am 16 Mar 21

    Well yes, it does.

    If it were a rally supporting the government and the attendance numbers were exaggerated you can be sure there would be more that one post challenging the claim.

    I’m still not clear what it was all really about, are you?

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