Violence against women

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence) (09:43:04) — As a local member for Sydenham and as the Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence, the experiences of women are at the forefront of my advocacy every day. Increasingly over the past year, we have seen women unite globally in solidarity to shine a light on sexual harassment, sexual abuse and rape. Let me be clear in saying sexual harassment is not easy for women to talk about. Sexual harassment is not fun for women to talk about. Our society no longer has permission to shrug its shoulders and say, ‘Boys will be boys’, and look away.

I would like to commend the councillors at the City of Melbourne — councillors Oke, Watts and Sullivan — for having the strength to stand up and complain against bad workplace behaviour in their workplace. In politics, in the workplace, on the street and in their home, women should feel safe to speak out against bullying and harassment. We must not forget those who cannot speak out for themselves. Do not let that diminish the importance and difficulty of your experience. We support you, those who cannot speak out. I look forward to working with all the women and men in my electorate to continue the fight for gender equity. We must listen and believe women when they speak up about sexual abuse. Time is up.