Brittany Higgins, the Liberal staffer who was allegedly raped inside Parliament House in 2019, has responded to Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s public apology by saying that it shouldn’t take a public rape scandal for women to feel safe in their workplace.
Higgins shared her story on Monday, explaining that after she was allegedly raped by a colleague, she had no choice but to quit her “dream job” and was offered very little from her boss, then-Defense Industry Minister Linda Reynolds or anyone else in the Liberal Party.
On Tuesday, Morrison finally apologised and ordered an investigation into the workplace culture at Parliament House, which Higgins said is “long overdue”.
“I shared my story yesterday because I didn’t want what happened to me, to happen to anyone else,” she said in a statement on Tuesday, a day after News.com.au broke the story.
“It should not have taken my story, or the story of other victim-survivors to air on national television for the Prime Minister – or any Member of Parliament – to take action on workplace sexual harassment, assault or bullying.”
While Higgins thanked Morrison for the apology, she added that she wants to see a full review of the current laws for political staffers, as well as the establishment of an independent reporting mechanism for staffers to report rape and sexual misconduct.
After weirdly invoking his daughters to explain that he thinks rape is a bad thing, actually, Morrison went on to say that nobody from his office could recall hearing the allegations at the time.
However, on Monday, Higgins had told The Project that at least two people connected to the PM’s office knew about her alleged rape.
PM has just told the House of Representatives that his office didn’t know of the alleged sexual assault until Feb 12, when I contacted them. That’s interesting because the COS who dealt with incident works there.
— Samantha Maiden (@samanthamaiden) February 16, 2021
“Political parties also need to conduct their own internal reviews and establish formal accountability processes. As we all know, this isn’t a problem confined to one side of politics,” she added on Tuesday.
“Finally, everyone should feel safe to report sexual assault without fear of losing their job. These incidents shouldn’t have to play out in the media for change to happen.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to those who have sent messages of support during this time. I ask for my privacy to now be respected as I begin to emotionally recover from this difficult period and wish to make no further comment.”
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.