Crime & Justice

Former Australian lawmaker makes allegation of sexual assault in parliament

Sydney, Australia, Jul 9 (EFE).- Prominent former Australian lawmaker Kate Sullivan has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a male colleague of the then-opposition coalition in his office in the early 1980s, national broadcaster ABC reported Friday.

The former Liberal parliamentarian said that the incident occurred while she was sharing a glass of port with a senator, who she did not identify, while the Senate was in session.

“One night he just grabbed me. He started to make like he was going to molest me. I struggled – hard, really hard – and eventually, he let me go,” the former politician told ABC.

“I headed for the door, he spat the word ‘bitch!’ at me.”

After noticing that the behavior of her male colleagues towards her changed after that incident and fearing that gossip about her would reach then-leader Andrew Peacock, she decided to tell him herself.

“He clearly didn’t believe me (…) It was one of the most devastating experiences of my life,” she said.

The former parliamentarian, whose statements are part of the ABC documentary Ms Represented, which will be broadcast on Tuesday, said that she was inspired to come forward with her story after Brittany Higgins, a former Liberal Party adviser, alleged in February that she was raped in parliament in 2019 by a colleague.

Sullivan, a parliamentarian for 27 years, said that “it’s my experience that a lot of men, when they’re rejected, get very vindictive,” so she understood “why Brittany didn’t make a fuss about it” at the time.

“She was afraid of this man spreading stories about her,” she added.

Higgins’ complaint has led to a probe into the work culture in the Australian parliament headed by Commissioner for Sex Discrimination Kate Jenkins. EFE


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