People Are In Awe Of Brittany Higgins & Grace Tame’s Powerful ‘March 4 Justice’ Rally Speeches
"We are all here today not because we want to be here. We are here because it is unfathomable that we are still having to fight this same stale, tired fight," Brittany Higgins said.
Across Australia, thousands of women have attended March 4 Justice rallies to stand up against sexism and gendered violence.
CW: This article discusses sexual assault and rape
The rallies, which come after a global outcry around the untimely death and murder of Sarah Everard, have been organised with the intention of demanding action and reform from Parliament on gendered violence.
In recent months, sexual assault and #MeToo has been front and centre within the Morrison government after the historic Christian Porter rape allegations, and Brittany Higgins public claims of sexual assault within Parliament House.
In support of the March 4 Justice rallies, ex-liberal staffer, Brittany Higgins, delivered her first speech since going public with her story, where she alleged she was raped by a colleague at Parliament House.
At the March 4 Justice rally in Canberra, Higgins shared that she felt the need to speak out “out of necessity” as the “system is broken”.
“We are all here today not because we want to be here, [but] because we have to be here. We fundamentally recognise the system is broken, the glass ceiling is still in place, and there are significant failings in the power structures within our institution,” Higgins said to the crowd.
“We are here because it is unfathomable that we are still having to fight this same stale, tired fight.”
For the first time since breaking her story, Brittany Higgins speaks at the #WomensMarch4Justice: "We are all here today not because we want to be here, because we have to be here. We fundamentally recognise the system is broken." #AusPol @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/JLrP398rmz
— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) March 15, 2021
During her address, Brittany Higgins also slammed the government for their lack of accountability and for their inaction towards making the necessary changes to protect women.
“I watched as the Prime Minister of Australia publicly apologise to me through the media, while privately his media team actively undermined and discredited my loved ones.”
“I wasn’t a person who had gone through a life-changing, traumatic event. I was a political problem,” Higgins continued. “This isn’t a political problem. This is a human problem.”
“We’ve all learned over the past few weeks just how common gendered violence is in this country. It’s time our leaders on both sides of politics stop avoiding the public and side-stepping accountability. It’s time we actually address the problem.”
Higgins also shared that she had chosen to share her story because it was “the only thing I felt I could do to say that I didn’t co-sign this behaviour”.
“That I don’t believe what happened was right. That I don’t believe a brochure is adequate support. That I don’t believe people should be isolated, intimidated and ignored after traumatic incidents inside the workplace,” Higgins said with tears in her eyes. “I came forward with my story to hopefully protect other women.”
“By staying silent, I felt like it would have made me complicit, and if something of this nature had ever happened here again, my ongoing silence would have inadvertently said to those people in charge that you can treat people in this way and it’s ok.”
“I want to be clear: It’s not. This isn’t ok and they need to do better. We all need to do better.”
“Take ownership of your story and free yourself from the stigma of shame,” Brittany Higgins ended her speech. “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.”
Brittany Higgins says she came forward with her story to 'protect other women' in a speech to March4Life protesters in front of Parliament House. pic.twitter.com/e2u5uYNtYS
— SBS News (@SBSNews) March 15, 2021
Equally as powerful, Australian of the Year Grace Tame, addressed the Hobart rally crowd with her own speech, where she told attendees that now is time for “making noise”.
“One of these barriers to progress is silence. The start of the solution is quite simple — making noise,” Tame told the crowd as she was met with cheers. “Evil thrives in silence. Behaviour unspoken, behaviour ignored is behaviour endorsed.”
The sexual assault survivor and advocate, who resides in Hobart, also told the crowd that their fear shouldn’t stop them from speaking out because all it takes is being a “little domino” to make a huge impact.
“That’s all you need to be — a domino,” she said. “Ten years next month I made a choice to stand up against a man who repeatedly raped me. I was afraid of doing something until a different kind of fear usurped that fear.”
“The fear of doing nothing should outweigh your fear of doing something.”
Another powerful speech from Grace Tame at the Women’s March for Justice in Hobart. pic.twitter.com/8cMXAs9LYc
— Judy Augustine (@JudyAugustine) March 15, 2021
Naturally people across Australia were moved by the sheer strength and power of both Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame, for pushing through their personal pain to publicly advocate for the protection of women.
Not sure I quite have the words to describe Brittany Higgins returning to Parliament House to address the massive #March4Justice. An absolute powerhouse. A force of nature. That speech, I think (I hope) will go down in history. Seeing the effect on people here was extraordinary
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) March 15, 2021
I cannot relay in words how impressed I am with both Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame, fantastic articulate absolute bloody legends #March4Justice
— Paul Meek (@PaulMeekPerth) March 15, 2021
I’ve seen many a great speech. I was present for the Apology that made the hairs on my spine quiver. Brittany Higgins spoke with her soul today. She was powerful, vivid, sharp and brilliant. Alive with empathy and courage. What a marvel. And what a privilege it was to witness.
— Jessica Rudd (@Jess_Rudd) March 15, 2021
Getting actual chills watching Grace Tame speak. She's a force.
— Jim Malo (@thejimmalo) March 15, 2021
But even beyond Higgins and Tame, it’s safe to say that Australians are also in awe of the thousands of women who have rallied and shared their own experiences of gendered violence in the hopes of enacting some real changes through reform, too.
As Grace Tame said, all it takes is women not being afraid to be little domino for real change to happen.
Sitting in my living room, bawling my eyes out .. soooo proud of women all over the country representing the women & girls who couldn't make the march! The wonderful young woman, brave & strong Brittany Higgins, the journalists I admire, the thousands unnamed .. and Grace Tame!
— Liz McLennan (@LizBuff46) March 15, 2021
If you need support, both Lifeline on 13 11 14 and the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 offer 24-hour assistance. For further information about youth mental health, both Headspace and Reach Out can provide guidance. You can also talk to a medical professional or someone you trust.