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Saturday Paper How the Greens failed me over rape.pdf


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1/31/2018

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

Some say they expect more from the Greens in getting social justice issues right, most likely given their parliamentary role in
bringing to shame failures of the major parties, for being a party of representative “firsts” and for maintaining the most
complete level of gender parity within their ranks for some time – praiseworthy achievements I do not intend to minimise.
But you’ve seen the billboards, placards and stickers: “Standing up for what matters.” How cruel and cynical that
representation seems to me now in hindsight, how dangerous and misleading to the hordes of young people searching for a
safe community to call their own.
You can listen to Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury tell an ABC Radio audience in July this year that he thought my assault had
been handled. He expressed shock at the news I was dissatisfied with actions taken by the party in response to it.

HERE I WAS, TRYING TO COMMUNICATE TO A
FEMALE PROGRESSIVE LEADER THAT I HAD BEEN
SEXUALLY ASSAULTED WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HER
ORGANISATION’S DUTY OF CARE, AND HAVING IT
INSINUATED THAT I HAD ASKED FOR IT.
“She at the time was satisfied,” he said, “that the alleged offender had been essentially... we didn’t have him on our team
anymore because of the serious allegations.” It was a gut punch to hear the interviewer accept this at face value, and reply:
“Well, in that case it is difficult when the victim changes her mind down the track.”
I didn’t change my mind. Those who had interacted with me at any time in the previous year – including Shane – were aware
of the consistency in my dissatisfaction. Shane’s knowledge of this, evidenced in text messages and email correspondence,
spanned seven months prior to his interview. But alas, he was off the hook. Shane advised listeners: “This allegation was
responded to immediately by the ACT Greens campaign manager, who met with the person concerned to offer support and
find out what steps they wanted the party to take.”
I question Shane’s definition of “immediately”. The campaign manager was informed of the assault 15 minutes after it
happened, when urgent help was requested from her and various other party leaders by a witness to my assault. She did not
respond to this request. Instead, when she overheard another of her staffers recruiting me to a campaigning position three
weeks later, she intervened and arranged a meeting. I was not to speak with anyone from the party prior to speaking with her,
she said.
We met a week after that. She never asked me what happened. She said she “didn’t need to know”. She asked me what I
wanted, which is not the same as offering support. She then shared with me some rumours that had been circulating, as to the
relationship between myself and my assaulter. Had you been flirting? Perhaps my assault was nothing more than an invited
sexual advance? I shouldn’t have to defend myself from such statements, but it appears I do: none of those statements were
true. And I shouldn’t have to add, but it appears I do: even had I flirted with him, penetration without consent is still rape.
This interaction with the campaign manager strikes me as a first instance of the hypocrisy of the party. A few days prior to the
election our candidate, Christina Hobbs, had misogynistic slurs written across her campaign materials. This became a rallying
cry for the ACT Greens in the election’s final days, “Vote for us – we are protectors, advocates and champions of women.” But
a few weeks later, here I was, trying to communicate to a female progressive leader, and the author of that messaging
campaign, that I had been sexually assaulted within the scope of her organisation’s duty of care, and having it insinuated that I
had asked for it.
My wounds were fresh and I retreated in the face of these allegations. We agreed on two steps to be taken. This retreat would
become the backbone of Shane’s statement to the media: I didn’t complain loudly enough.
Shane advised radio listeners: “Those steps were taken, and the alleged perpetrator of the incident was stood down from
volunteer responsibilities and has not volunteered with the party since.”
No, minister. As was communicated to you in the letter referenced above, the campaign manager agreed to my request for my
assailant to be stood down from all volunteering. She confirmed with me that same day it had been actioned. After our
meeting, she sent an email to the core staff and volunteer team: “As a final update, I regret to inform you all that
https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/12/23/exclusive-how-the-greens-failed-me-over-rape/15139476005690

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