March4Justice South West joins nationwide protests

Women protested in Canberra by surrounding Parliament House.
Women protested in Canberra by surrounding Parliament House.

Nationwide protests supporting March4Justice will be hitting the streets of Bunbury at 1pm on Monday, March 15, 2021 with event organisers calling on South West residents to join them.

The protests have been organised in the wake of serious rape allegations that hit Parliament House in Canberra with many Australians expressing their disgust at the Federal Government's handling of the incidents.

In February, Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was sexually assaulted at Parliament House by a male colleague after a night out in 2019.

In a separate allegation, Attorney General Christian Porter denied he raped a woman more than three decades ago.

The woman, who was 16 at the time of the alleged rape in 1988, went to police last year but withdrew the complaint before taking her own life in June.

There have been calls for an independent inquiry into the matter after NSW Police closed its investigation citing a lack of admissible evidence.

Women's March For Justice Southwest WA event coordinator Aoife McGreal said with one in five women in Australia experiencing sexual assault; society needed to do better to protect women and victims.

"There is an expectation across the board, supported by men and women, that we need a shift in our culture and societal attitudes directed at victims of sexual assault," she said.

"It is important to attach the same assumption of believability to both the alleged victims, as well as, the alleged predator, in order for victims of sexual abuse to have the courage to come forward and report an incident of sexual assault.

"Many people around the country have expressed their outrage over the lack of support and compassion towards the alleged victims from the Federal Government, ministers and their staffers over the recent sexual assault allegations.

"As a society we look to our leaders and governments to be an example of zero tolerance, thus supporting due process for sexual assault victims with compassion and fairness.

"Therefore, it is our hope the Women's March for Justice campaign will inspire the Federal Government to take a more ethical stance and adopt a zero tolerance policy towards sexual abuse at Parliament House in Canberra, thus creating a much safer workplace for female staffers.

"We hope they will hold ministers to a higher standard and not make them beyond reproach or untouchable."

A Bridge of Unity spokesperson Lisa Chatwin said women around the country were uniting to show support for victims of sexual abuse, asking the Federal Government to consider reforms that would facilitate a fairer and more compassionate process for victims of sexual abuse.

"We need our governments, public service sector and our law enforcement sector to adopt a more compassionate approach," she said.

"An approach that would see victims of sexual assault believed and supported when they have the courage to come forward with their disclosures of sexual abuse, both on a personal level and more importantly, when pursuing justice through the criminal system."

Almost 200 people across the region have joined the Facebook group Women's March For Justice - Southwest WA. The protest will take place from 1pm on March 15 at Anzac Park, Bunbury.

This story Women's March For Justice Southwest WA joins nationwide protests first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.