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Friday, February 26, 2021

Brittany Higgins: Parliament rape accuser makes complaint

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A former political adviser, who alleges she was raped by a senior colleague in Australia’s Parliament House, says she will make a formal complaint.

Brittany Higgins spoke out in a TV interview on Monday that has prompted shock and outrage over her treatment.

In the interview, she said she feared losing her job after the alleged assault in 2019 and had little support from her bosses.

Ms Higgins has urged for a “comprehensive investigation”.

Speaking to Network Ten, she claimed she had told her employer and the minister told her she would be supported if she pursued a police complaint, but she felt pressured not to, believing it would end her career.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has apologised for the government’s handling of her complaint and has called for a review into parliament’s environment and culture.

In a statement on Friday, Ms Higgins said: “I want a comprehensive police investigation into what happened to me … and for my perpetrator to face the full force of the law.”

She called on the Australian Federal Police to act swiftly over the alleged attack “in what should be the safest building in Australia”.

“I believe that getting to the bottom of what happened to me and how the system failed me is critical to creating a new framework for political staff that ensures genuine cultural change and restores the trust of staff.”

What does Ms Higgins allege?

Ms Higgins, who was 24 at the time of the alleged assault, says she was weeks into her new “dream job” with Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds when she went out for drinks with a group including her alleged attacker, an older male colleague.

She said the man offered her a lift home at the end of the night, but instead took her to Parliament House where she fell asleep in the minister’s office drunk.

The 26-year-old said she then woke up to the man sexually assaulting her. “I woke up mid-rape essentially,” she told Network Ten. “I started crying… I told him to stop.”

She said he left immediately afterwards.

Ms Higgins said the discussion about the incident with her boss was held in the room where the alleged attack took place, prompting her trauma to “loop” in her mind.

She worked for another minister in Mr Morrison’s Liberal Party before quitting politics.

This post courtesy of BBC-World

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