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Saturday Paper How the Greens failed me over rape.pdf

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Exclusive: How the Greens failed me over rape | The Saturday Paper


A former volunteer for the ACT Greens details
how the party failed to believe or support her
following a sexual assault by a colleague. By

Exclusive: How the
Greens failed me
over rape
On the night of the federal election, July 2, 2016, driving away from the ACT Greens election party, I was sexually assaulted in
the back of a car on Commonwealth Bridge, leaving Parliamentary Circle. There were three men in the car. I sat in the back
with another Greens member, 10 years older than me, who had invited himself into the car just as we drove away. While the
two in the front philosophised the election results, he held me down, told me he hated me and without consent put his fingers
in my vagina.
There is much said by survivors of sexual violence as to its impact on their lives, psyche, sense of self. I am not going to try to
provide my perspective on loss and healing in such a short amount of words. I will, however, share my experience as a member
of an allegedly progressive organisation for which I voted and volunteered, which then refused to hear or believe me. The ACT
Greens have consistently sought to delegitimise me and my story, adopting the rhetoric of victim blaming (“we can’t help
someone that doesn’t want to co-operate”, “you were flirting with him before the election night”), institutional
unaccountability (“it’s an issue between two third parties”, “we have no responsibility”) and outright denial (“there’s two sides
to every story”). I am not paraphrasing this: every quote here, and those that follow, is pulled from correspondence between
myself, other members and party leaders.
The #MeToo campaign has brought with it feelings of guilt, shame and relived trauma for me, as well as deep insecurity about
the validity of my hurt. Was it all my fault? Why haven’t I been able to talk about what happened to me on social media like
everyone else? What made me less brave than them? Of course, everyone heals differently and has a right to privacy in grief,
but the parallels between the widespread institutional complicity in other stories and that of the ACT Greens, the surface of
which has merely been scratched, made it imperative that I describe my experience, albeit anonymously.