Grace Tame confronts Scott Morrison over response to sexual assault allegations | Alds

Grace Tame confronts Scott Morrison over response to sexual assault allegations

Australian of the Year Grace Tame has taken a savage swipe at the Prime Minister over his handling of the recent Parliament House sexual assault allegations.

Ms Tame, a sexual abuse survivor and outspoken advocate for other survivors, lashed Scott Morrison for his response to the allegations raised by former Liberal staffer, Brittany Higgins.

Ms Higgins claims she was raped by senior male colleague in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ office in March 2019.

When announcing an investigation into the workplace culture at Parliament House, Mr Morrison told reporters that a conversation with his wife Jenny had prompted him to take stronger action.

RELATED: Grace reveals how paedos ‘groom’ kids

“Jenny and I spoke last night, and she said to me, ‘You have to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?’” he said during a press conference.

“Jenny has a way of clarifying things. Always has. And so, as I’ve reflected on that overnight and listened to Brittany and what she had to say, there are a couple of things here we need to address.”

Ms Tame was asked about Mr Morrison’s comments during her address to the National Press Club on Wednesday.

She issued a scathing response, directly calling out the PM’s wording.

“It shouldn’t take having children to have a conscience. And, actually, on top of that, having children doesn’t guarantee a conscience,” she said to resounding applause.

Ms Tame was then asked whether Mr Morrison’s 2019 comments that he hoped rape survivors would be believed “ring true” now following the latest allegations.

“Clearly not,” was her blunt reply.

RELATED: ‘It will not go away’: PM slammed

During her address, Ms Tame also spoke about one of the hardest parts of recovery for sexual abuse survivors.

She said trying to speak out about “something we were taught is unspeakable” is a huge hurdle many victims face.

“I felt completely disconnected from myself and everyone around me. Many people didn’t know how to respond,” she said.

“That said, the ones who listened, the ones who were eager to understand, even when they couldn’t, made all the difference.

“Still, the doubt lingered. How could I have been so stupid, as to not see what this man was doing from the outset? Was it my fault? Should I have known it was a lie when he said he learned more from me than any of his other students.”

Ms Tame said it was when her abuser was released from prison after serving 19 months for abusing her – and then “spoke freely to the media about how awesome it was” – that she realised the situation was “wrong”.

“It became quite obvious to me why child sex abuse remains ubiquitous in our society, while predators retain the power to get what they want, to objectify their targets through free speech, the innocent, survivors and bystanders alike, are burdened by a shame induced silence.”

This isn’t the first time Mr Morrison has been lashed for his response to the Parliament House assault allegations, with Ms Higgins herself urging the prime minister not to engage in victim-blaming rhetoric.

In a statement last month, Ms Higgins said it was time Morrison Government was held to account.

“The continued victim-blaming rhetoric by the Prime Minister is personally very distressing to me and countless other survivors,’’ she said.

“The Government has questions to answer for their own conduct.”

Ms Higgins said she was also shocked to learn new details of the night in question from media reporting.

“I have only been made aware of key elements of my own sexual assault as a result of coming forward publicly with my story,’’ she said.

“I didn’t know that security guards let me into Minister Reynolds suite. I didn’t know that a security guard came into the office multiple times seeing me in a state of undress.

“I didn’t know they were undertaking an internal review into how the matter was handled at the time. I didn’t know that they debated calling an ambulance at the time of the incident.”

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