TV presenter Jessica Rowe’s memoir, Is This My Beautiful Life?, is an honest account of her life, but one of the topics that sticks out the most is about the harassment she experienced in the workplace.
According to Daily Mail Australia, in her memoir, Rowe recalls the time she was assaulted by an unnamed news director after he returned from a boozy lunch.
“He pressed his body against me but I managed to get away into one of the editing suites, where I rang one of the senior executives in tears,” she recalled. “He counselled me and suggested that it wasn’t a big deal; I got the distinct impression I should keep my mouth shut if I wanted to stay working in that newsroom.”
Unfortunately, Rowe’s harassment is not an isolated incident. A news.com.au piece published last February reveals that the statistics for sexual assault in Australia are staggeringly high.
According to the publication, “One in six Australian women have been the victim of a sexual assault by a non-partner, compared to one in 14 women around the world.” And when partners are included in the stats, the numbers are even more shocking: More than one in five women have experienced sexual assaults by partners.
The Lancet medical journal study says 16.4 per cent of women over the age of 15 in Australia and New Zealand have been the victims of sexual assault by someone who wasn’t their partner, reports news.com.au. The only countries with higher statistics are Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe with 17.4 per cent, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 21 per cent.
As a society, and more so as a country, we should be aware of the problem. Sexual assault cases like Jessica Rowe’s are not isolated incidents and a cultural change is clearly needed.
According to news.com.au, New South Wales Rape Crisis Centre executive officer Karen Willis previously spoke out about the challenges that Australia still faces.
“Even though Australia was doing well in terms of working towards equal rights for women, rates of violence towards women had not changed,” Willis explained. “More work needed to be done to equalise the status of women and there needed to be cultural change among men so they didn’t abuse the power and control they had.”