Australian PM apologizes for handling of staffer's rape allegation

PM apologises for treatment of former Liberal staffer, orders workplace review after alleged rape

A former Australian government staffer has said she was raped in a minister's office in parliament and failed by her bosses after coming forward, prompting an apology from the prime minister Tuesday.

Ms Higgins, 26, gave a TV interview on Monday that has prompted shock and outrage over her treatment.

The notion that Scott Morrison can not act on, let alone sympathise with, the assault of a woman without imagining that the woman in question is his wife or daughter is an ideology inherent to benevolent misogyny - a type of misogyny in which men refuse to see women as their fellow human beings unless they're women they personally care for.

The allegations are now under a renewed police investigation.

Ms Higgins, women in parliament, and the marginalised peoples of this country deserve better than a condescending PM who can not muster empathy for a single woman without his wife advising him to imagine this woman is his daughter.

"That should not have happened, and I do apologize".

What does Ms Higgins allege?

Instead, she was taken to the Parliament House.

Brittany Higgins went public this week with allegations that she was raped by a Liberal party colleague inside Parliament house in March 2019, when she was 24 years old.

"I was drunk, I really couldn't walk", she told Network 10, recollecting, "It felt better to go into the building than stand outside in the dark by myself".

'I told him to stop.

She said the man left immediately afterwards, and she wasn't offered any assistance by security guards on her way out of parliament.

The young staffer said during the meeting with Senator Reynolds she was "nice" and "apologetic", but the meeting quickly turned to whether she would report the incident to police.

In a statement to CNN, Higgins said that she had come forward "because I didn't want what happened to me, to happen to anyone else".

Higgins, who was Reynolds' media adviser, said she decided not to pursue a police complaint at the time because she felt pressure that doing so would affect her employment.

She said the meeting with the minister was also held in the room where the alleged attack took place.

"I woke up mid-rape essentially", said Higgins, adding she didn't know how she fell asleep in the minister's chamber.

The survivor said a member of Morrison's ruling Liberal Party had raped her.

Ms Higgins said her leg was "crushed" during the alleged rape and took a photo of an alleged bruise in the bathroom.

He said parliament's professional standards and culture would be reviewed, saying: "I hope Brittany's call is a wake-up call for all of us".

He revealed that he has tasked the Department of the Prime Minister and cabinet official Stephanie Foster with reviewing the process of handling workplace complaints. Today, our PM, Scott Morrison, is being criticised for his tone-deaf response.

Morrison on Tuesday apologized to Higgins and promised an investigation.

When she announced she was leaving, he offered to get a cab with her because he was heading in the same direction, she said.

"She said to me: 'You have to think about this as a father first".

American activist Charlotte Clymer tweeted, "To Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and any other man who need to hear this: if you have to contextualize sexual violence against women by imagining it happening to your wife, daughter, order to appropriately act, you are very much part of the problem".

"It should not take a man having a daughter for him to treat women who've been assaulted with empathy and respect", wrote author Jamila Rizvi on Twitter. There will also be a separate probe into workplace culture.



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