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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

[ASSAILANT] will no longer be volunteering in the office on Fridays. This was a mutual decision, and I’ve thanked
[ASSAILANT] on behalf of the campaign for his work to date.”
Meanwhile, all record of my involvement was removed from any formal campaign documents. I was the only individual
among my counterparts, each of whom performed identical or even less onerous roles on the campaign, who was not invited
to take part in a campaign review. I was also the only one who went unthanked in an executive summary of this review. A note
was put next to my name on a volunteer database: “DO NOT ASK TO VOLUNTEER”. But the man who assaulted me was
thanked.
This presented a facade to party leaders that his departure was a mutual decision. He does not appear to have been stood
down due to misconduct, nor as a protective measure for future volunteers.
I’m told a concerned staffer witnessed my assailant involved in neighbourhood team volunteer recruitment weeks later. I have
internal proof, drawn from the ACT Greens database, that not only did the assailant attend both the “Women’s March” and a
“Politics in the Pub with Adam Bandt and Caroline le Couteur” event on February 27, but that he was invited to be there by
the party. At the time of this event, I was attending a general meeting, being told to my face that I was unwilling to co-operate
with the party, and that this was why no investigation had been taken into my assault.
Others have reported verbal defences of his attendances: “Oh, that’s a social event, not a campaign event.” Perhaps the party
cannot close the doors to members of the public, but they certainly can show discretion in who they invite to attend. They
demonstrated their capability to do so – I was not invited. This kind of quibbling on minutiae by party leaders and
representatives has been soul destroying. To be told that my assailant had been “stood down from all volunteering” is to tell
me it’s safe for me to take part when it clearly is not. Shane’s preaching to quiet public concern is galling beyond belief and it
demonstrates the party’s priorities: it is more important to be perceived as doing the right thing than to actually do so.
Lastly from this single radio interview: “Our priority was, and is, to support the woman involved in whatever action she
chooses to take.” In an email I communicated a list of actions that I wanted undertaken, including an investigation. None
were. Five months after the party was advised in writing of the events of July, my advocates succeeded in securing a written
acknowledgement that something occurred. The party was “made aware of the circumstances surrounding the alleged sexual
harassment first on 20 October and discussed in more depth on both December 5th and December 7th”. Not only did such
acknowledgement come much too late but it reflected the inexcusable pattern of misrepresentation to the member base of
what happened to me: the refusal to acknowledge sexual abuse and to call it harassment.
I received no support for the first year that the party knew of my assault. Once media attention was attracted, I received an
apology. The party was sorry that I felt like I had been treated inappropriately. To date, the party has never acknowledged,
privately or publicly, that I was assaulted or that they knew of it.
Shane is the ACT’s minister for mental health, corrections, and justice.
 
Three weeks prior to my assault, in a Friday core team meeting, I reported to the campaign manager and two other staff
members that I was being sexually harassed by the man who ended up assaulting me. He hung around late in the office one
night when I was alone. He gave me a back massage and did not stop when I asked him to. He told me that it was unsafe for
young girls such as myself to be there alone at night and insinuated that he had to stay to protect me from the “bad guys”. I am
sure this is familiar behaviour to many – masquerading as the protector to gain a position of trust to later abuse. The next
morning, I complained. This complaint went unacted upon. An email between staffers confirms that I made this complaint.
An additional four individuals have confirmed they witnessed me making the complaint. Despite this, the one person tasked
with acting upon it – the campaign manager – says she did not hear about it until after the election.
“We didn’t take any action on this during the campaign because the first I heard of it was the night of the after-party,” she
wrote in a later email. “There were difficulties with the offender before that, but nobody brought any issues related to sexual
harassment to me until after the election (nobody raised an issue of texts with me, just the fact that offender could not follow
instructions from women. This is not the same thing as sexual harassment). If this was happening on the campaign and
nobody was passing it up the chain or bringing it to my attention, this is a problem because we might have been able to prevent
it earlier.”
I spent the months following my assault convinced that the party wanted my silence, that by not coming forward I would be
helping the election result. I was plagued by self-doubt. In hindsight, this was a natural byproduct of knowing the member
base had been told repeatedly that there had been no assault. I had only been harassed. I was unwilling to co-operate in an
investigation.
https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/12/23/exclusive-how-the-greens-failed-me-over-rape/15139476005690

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