Earlier in March, March4Justice was forged from the scorching rage of women, gender diverse folk and allies, exhausted by the current Federal Government's apathy towards gendered violence. When Brittany Higgins came forward with her own experience of sexual assault, where she alleged that she was raped by a senior staffer in the office of then Federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in 2019, it became crystal clear that there is no space in Australia, not even in our own Parliament, where women are safe from the persistent threat of sexual assault.
And so we marched. Across the country survivors and allies organised and attended rallies, demanding immediate action. No longer would politicians be able to gloss over the safety concerns of women from all rungs of society. Naturally, we were met with a lukewarm response; rambling speeches about solidarity, wives stepping in to hold the hands of their incompetent husbands, senior politicians promoted despite historic allegations of sexual assault, a National Summit on Women's Safety where the voices of survivors were notably absent — the list drags on.
Now, with the 2022 Australian Federal Election mere months away, it's time to up the ante and continue the work that was started in March this year. March4Justice organisers have made it known that there will be more protests to come next year in 2022, and the year after — however long it takes for the Federal Government to take action and implement the four key demands.
What are the demands? For starters, March4Justice have called for rigorous and independent investigations into all cases of gendered sexual violence, with timely referrals to the appropriate authorities. Next, they are campaigning for Parliament to implement every single one of the 55 recommendations made in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s [email protected] report. As for the last two, advocates are demanding that the government raise public funding for gendered violence and be a global leader on this front, as well as develop a Gender Equality Act to enshrine gender equality into law, with the inclusion of a gender equity audit of practices in Parliament.
While March4Justice began as a movement to address the inequalities taking place behind closed doors in Parliament, organisers want to emphasise that the movement is for all survivors and allies, especially LGBTIQA+, Black, Indigenous and other persons of colour.
In a statement the organisation said, "March4Justice is committed to providing a safe space for all women and their allies to be heard and events will be welcoming to First Nations peoples, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, people from CALD and immigrant communities, people of all abilities and people from every area of the political spectrum."
"The only people who are not welcome to join March4Justice events are those who do not wish to embrace the values of inclusion; there is zero tolerance for hate speech, intimidation or of course threats of violence or violence."
When are the protests set to be held?
March4Justice has said that they will be releasing the exact dates and locations of each protest in January 2022. Watch this space as we'll be updating you as soon as the details are known.