Brittany Higgins details her experience since going public with her allegation:
My story was on the front page for the sole reason that it was a painful reminder to women that it can happen in Parliament House, and can truly happen anywhere. These past few weeks on a personal level have been extremely difficult. Like many of you I have watched this all play out in the media. I watched it happened from my laptop in a spare bedroom in my dad's apartment on the Gold Coast.
I watched as the Prime Minister of Australia publicly apologised to me through the media, while privately the media team actively undermined and discredited by love ones.
I tuned into Question Time to see my former bosses, people that I had dedicated my life to, did and downplay my lived experience. I have read the news updates every day at five a.m., because I was waking up to new information about my own sexual assault through the media.
Details that were never disclosed to me by my employers, information that would have helped me as questions that have haunted me for years. I watched as people hid behind throwaway phrases like due process and presumption of innocence while failing to acknowledge how the justice system is notoriously stacked against victims of sexual crime.
I read the advice from defence chief Angus Campbell who advised women on how not to fall prey to those who have the proclivity to harm others. Advice aimed solely at modifying the behaviour of victims and does nothing to address the actions of perpetrators. I was dismayed by senior male journalists who routinely implied that my partner was pulling the strings behind the scenes. The sudden inference being that a traumatised woman wasn't capable of weaponising her own story.
I watched as advocates on the macro level disappear when the issue hit too close to home at the micro level. I had think suspicions confirmed when the media exposed a long list of people who knew what had happened to me. A list that seemed to grow by the day as truths about internal reviews, Senate committee submissions, office cleans and witness accounts were all unearthed. These are the people making our laws in governing the country. As our leaders, they should be the exemplar - the gold standard. Sadly, this just isn't the case. 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?
This isn't a political problem. This is a human problem. We've all learned over the past few weeks just how common gendered violence is in this country.
It's time our leaders on both sides of politics stop avoiding the public and side-stepping accountability. It's time we actually address the problem.