Why women across Australia marched for justice today

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Trigger warning: This post deals with topics including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

If you’re living in Australia and scrolled through social media today, you no doubt saw many people – especially women – marching through their hometowns in the name of gender equality.

WATCH BELOW: Girlfriend meets with protestors at the March 4 Justice in Sydney 

Across the country, over 33 locations hosted March 4 Justice protests calling for change in widespread change in federal Australian parliament in regards to gendered violence and inequality.

These follow the high-profile allegations of rape that have emerged from Canberra – one made by former staffer Brittany Higgins against a senior parliamentary staffer, as well as a second against Attorney-General Christian Porter who allegedly raped a 16-year-old woman in 1988.

Over 33 locations hosted March 4 Justice protests. (Credit: Supplied)

Speaking at Canberra’s protest, survivor Brittany Higgins noted that “we all need to do better” when it comes to fighting gendered violence.

“I encourage each and every one of you to set boundaries for yourself and be ruthless in your defence of them. Speak up. Share your truth and know that you have a generation of women ready, willing and able to support you,” she told the crowd.

“Take ownership of your story and free yourself from the stigma of shame. Together, we can bring about real, meaningful reform to the workplace culture inside Parliament House and, hopefully, every workplace, to ensure the next generation of women can benefit from a safer and more equitable Australia.”

Lisa Wilkinson looks on as survivor Brittany Higgins speaks to crowds in Canberra. (Credit: Getty)

What’s more, some big names were also in attendance.

The Project‘s Lisa Wilkinson, who broke Brittany Higgins story, took to the stage at Canberra’s rally to introduce her and said Parliament House appeared to be the easiest place in Australia to rape a woman and get away with it.

“We are women and women have had enough with not being heard,” she said.

Meanwhile in Sydney, Today Show entertainment reporter Brooke Boney shared photos of herself and allies protesting whilst one eagle-eyed fan even spotted Jurassic Park star Sam Neill.

In Tasmania, Australian of the Year recipient and sexual assault survivor Grace Tame also spoke about the danger of silence. 

“You know, as is often the case when an issue that has been shrouded in darkness for such a long time is suddenly thrust into the light, there’s widespread shock and disbelief over how something so evil could happen, and not just happen, but happen so ubiquitously. And the answer is plain and simple – silence,” the #LetHerSpeak campaign creator said.

“Evil thrives in silence. Behaviour unspoken, behaviour ignored, is behaviour endorsed.”

But if you did not or could not attend a protest in your area today and want to make change, there are things you can do.

A petition is circulating to end gendered violence in Australia that you can sign whether you are a survivor or ally.

“Changing harmful attitudes and behaviours and stopping violent acts – must start at the very top,” it reads.

You can also donate to the March 4 Justice cause which has already surpassed its $100,000 goal.

Remember, your voice and your actions can make a difference.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online. 

To speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online

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