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Newman Bradley Haydar
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Louise Newman and Michael Bradley in conversation with Nour Haydar

Rape Culture
The revelations and allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the Australian Parliament have prompted furious responses. Political leaders have attempted to limit the damage by referring to the lack of criminal charges, resisting a discussion of entrenched misogyny. Advocates for survivors of abuse see this as a continuation of the long history of normalising the abuse of woman, perpetuating it through legal mechanisms and the exercise of power. This impasse represents the workings of a ‘rape culture’ where the abuse of women is accepted as commonplace. Psychological theories of repression have been misused, contributing to the recycling of the so-called theory of ‘false memories’ whereby the recall of trauma is seen as invented, perhaps implanted by therapists. It is concerning that this complex issue is being ventilated by journalists, politicians and lawyers without any clinical understanding of trauma, memory and the implications for support. Women must not be represented as mentally unstable, untrustworthy or ruled by their hormones while their abusers take refuge in legalisms, obfuscations and the dark art of political calculus.

System Failure: The Silencing of Rape Survivors
One in five Australian women has been the victim of a sexual assault. For these women, there is less than a 1 per cent chance that their rapist has been arrested, prosecuted and convicted of the crime. These are the bare numerical facts of system failure. We offer rape survivors a stark choice: go to the police, or remain silent. In recent times, the public pressure on survivors to report has increased, alongside a growing focus on two other options: civil action against the perpetrator, or going public. These evolving social responses are intended to offer an alternative to the tradition of silencing. However, each of these choices, for survivors, involves a further sacrifice of what they have already lost. The legal system’s responses to rape were designed without survivors in mind, and they do not address, in any way, the questions that survivors ask or the needs they express. Simply put, on the systemic response to rape, we are having the wrong conversation.

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Jenny Macklin, Kate Thwaites, Jill Hennessy and Kate Fitz-Gibbon
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Enough: An in the National Interest Panel

You are invited to a panel discussion with Jenny Macklin, Kate Thwaites, Jill Hennessy and Kate Fitz-Gibbon around the issues of respect and violence, chaired by the Victorian Women’s Trust’s Mary Crooks.

In her essay Enough is Enough, long-serving former MP for JagaJaga Jenny Macklin and current Member for JagaJaga Kate Thwaites make an urgent call for respect for women in Parliament and take a critical look about long held parliamentary structures that don’t allow for equal treatment for women and in some cases protection for the safety of women.

The essay Respect by Victorian Labor MP and former Health Minister and Attorney General Jill Hennessy leads a passionate argument for the basic need for respect in our parliaments, across our institutions and with fellow members of society.

In Our National Shame: Violence Against Women Kate Fitz-Gibbbons takes a critical look at the national emergency of violence against women which has long permeated our community and further emphasised by events that surfaced early in 2021 with the revelations of the alleged rape of parliamentary staffer Brittany Higgins. Fitz-Gibbons looks at the response from PM Scott Morrison highlights the importance of meaningful and effective leadership at the lightest level of government on this particular issue and being the key barrier to achieving genuine reform.

This event is free to attend but bookings are essential.

Please book here.

  • Enough is Enough

    Kate Thwaites and Jenny Macklin
Chifley Conversation
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Chifley Conversations: Enough is Enough

Chifley Conversations with guests Jenny Macklin & Kate Thwaites MP on their new book ‘Enough is Enough’.

What is it about the culture and structure of Parliament House that has allowed sexual violence and harassment to flourish? Join former Labor deputy leader Jenny Macklin and Kate Thwaites MP for a conversation and Q&A on their new book Enough is Enough.

  • Enough is Enough

    Kate Thwaites and Jenny Macklin