Women rally in Rocky to say ‘Enough is Enough’
Women gathered in Rockhampton on Thursday evening to express anger about the treatment of women in public office and in everyday life, and show solidarity with those telling stories of rape or harassment.
About 30 people attended the Central Park rally, which was organised by Ashleigh Saunders from Yeppoon.
Her and her friends’ indignation at the Prime Minister and the culture at Parliament House spawned a Facebook group that has grown to roughly 450 members.
“It’s in response to the appalling response from the Federal Government around sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace, and for women in general,” Ms Saunders said.
“It’s actually a common thing for women to experience sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual discrimination – it’s kind of our lives.
“My girlfriends and I were talking about how outraged we were and decided to do something about it.”
A woman named Julie spoke at the rally.
She said Central Queensland women were “tired” and “sick of it”.
“We’re angry because our voices are not being heard,” she said.
“We’re angry because when we do speak out we’re not believed.
“If governments do not act, and they accept a standard of behaviour that continues a culture of assault and silence, then there’ll be no change.
“We call on every level of government – federal, state, and local – to believe women, to implement the Respect at Work report, to employ and empower equity commissioners.”
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the necessary changes were “multidimensional”.
She said that in government, cultural change and legislation was required; that in society, young people had to be taught to treat women with respect; that in workplaces, women needed to be valued for their abilities rather than as tokens; and that in general there ought to be increased domestic violence support, judicial review, and peer education by men.
“The minute that our sex is determined in our lives is the minute that as women, we unfortunately become unlucky,” Ms Lauga said.
“And that shouldn’t be the way.
“We should all be able to expect a life where we are equal, where we’re respected.
“We’re not here because we want to be; we’re here today because we have to be.
“We should be able to expect respect when we go to work, when we go to the pub, when we go to school or university.
“We should be able to expect respect when we walk down the street. But we can’t, and that’s why we’re all here today.”