Content warning: This article contains reference to sexual harassment. Please refer to the services at the bottom of this article for support.
Adding to Parliament House’s mounting sexual harassment crisis, Victorian Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has spoken out about the sexual harassment she has experienced since being sworn into Federal Parliament in October.
With barely six months under her belt, Senator Thorpe spoke out about her experiences after being prompted in a media interview on Tuesday.
The Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman and lifelong activist later shared a statement via Twitter on the matter.
“Today I was asked by the media whether I had experienced harassment in my short time as a Senator here at Parliament House. The truth is, I have,” she wrote.
Senator Thorpe said it had come from “male MPs and Senators”.
“These are men that write our laws — men that should know better. What they’ve done is violating behaviour. It’s physical. It’s sexualising, objectifying behaviour — it makes me feel physically sick,” she wrote.
“But the truth is, as women, too often we feel like we need to keep men’s secrets. We sit down, we laugh it off, we shut up. We indulge these men in our homes, in our workplaces, in our community. But it’s got to stop.”
Today I was asked by the media whether I had experienced harassment in my short time as a Senator here at Parliament House.
The truth is, I have. Too often, with male MPs and Senators – and I’ve only been here for six months. Thread/ https://t.co/4rA4bRgu3n
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@lidia__thorpe) March 23, 2021
The Senator said she felt she had to speak out on the matter to hold perpetrators to account.
“I’ve spoken out today because like so many of us, I’m sick to death of this shit. As a Blak woman, and as an elected representative of the people, I’m not going to shut up. I’m going to do my part to hold these men to account. Because enough. is. ENOUGH,” she wrote.
“For everyone out there that’s experienced sexism, misogyny, racism, ableism, discrimination … all or any of the above … we stand with you.
“And to the Prime Minister: this is all happening on your watch. You are ultimately responsible. We don’t need more talk from you. We need you to ACT. We’re not going anywhere.”
Since sharing her story, Senator Thorpe has been flooded with support via Twitter from members of her own party and other public figures.
“An important thread from my colleague Senator Thorpe. Yes, there are too many women in this place, and outside, that have had to put up with men who don’t keep their hands to themselves,” said Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young.
An important thread from my colleague Senator Thorpe.
Yes, there are too many women in this place, and outside, that have had to put up with men who don’t keep their hands to themselves 👇 https://t.co/oQn7t9Asr6
— 💚🌏 Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) March 23, 2021
“Solidarity always Senator!! Keeping calling out the trash behaviours & keep leading,” tweeted Wiradjuri man and former NRL star Joe Williams.
Solidarity always Senator!! Keep calling out the trash behaviours & keep leading 🖤 https://t.co/tZIC4GKbl3
— Joe Williams – TEW (@joewilliams_tew) March 23, 2021
Senator Thorpe came forward the same day Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the country in regard to the sexist behaviours of those within Parliament House and calling for cultural change within the institution.
If this article has raised any issues for you, please call or visit the resources below:
- 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732, https://www.1800respect.org.au/
- Spartan First Suicide Prevention Crisis Line – 1800 370 747
- Lifeline – 13 11 14,org.au
- Sexual assault helplines for your State or Territory – https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sexual-assault-and-abuse-helplines
By Rachael Knowles