A powerful movement has begun. I link it back to the women's march that happened the day after Trump was sworn in. I attended the march here in Victoria and was awed by the energy of the crowd, which was made up of women of all ages. Women's rights felt threatened and en masse we stood up to protest.
Flash forward nine months to the #metoo phenomenon. Women once again are standing up to say no more. You cannot touch my body without consent. You do not have the right to sexually harrass me, denigrate me or demand sexual favours for a job, promotion or service.
Over my lifetime, I have experienced various forms of sexism, harrassment and assault. From a pat on the rear to attempted rape. The sad truth is that every single woman I know has similar stories. The disturbing truth is that we all just tried to forget these injusticies. Because they are so commonplace, they were accepted as part of the culture. "Men are pigs." We shrugged our shoulders and moved on.
But increasingly this fall, brave women are calling out abusers and demanding justice. I applaud all women who find their voices and come forward. Our culture will never change if we allow our sons, our male friends, our boyfriends, our bosses or any other man in our lives to mistreat us and other women. Say it calmly and clearly: you do not have the right.
I await news of criminal cases against serial abusers like Weinstein. Only when the police and the courts take these crimes seriously will we truly turn the tide. When I called out colleagues at two former jobs, my supervisors did nothing. In fact, they made excuses for their bad behaviour. That has to end.
The vulnerability of women is a key theme in my writing. Although we make up half the population, we are not afforded the same privileges, opportunities or rights. It is easy to point the finger at other countries, but the #metoo movement shines a light on where we must do better right here at home. Let's keep the conversation going.