Statement on Harassment Incidents on Parliament Hill
November 7th, 2014 - 12:39pm
Over the past two weeks, due in large part to the deeply troubling information that has come to light, it seems as if the entire country is talking about sexual harassment, male violence against women and rape culture.
While I welcome a much needed discussion, I have been somewhat hesitant to add my voice to the cacophony of commentary that has filled the airwaves, particularly since far too many of those voices have been of male non-victims.
In the past 48 hours, however, details of harassment on Parliament Hill have emerged that compel me to speak out, as I fear that silence on the issue could send an unintended message.
Parliament Hill is a workplace, like any other, in a world wherein systemic harassment and male violence against women is the sad reality.
People have expressed shock that this could occur on Parliament Hill, but tragically this is not shocking: this is a statistical certainty.
The most significant difference on the Hill is that most people are in highly public positions and are under intense media scrutiny at all times.
For this reason, it is imperative that there be a process established to protect the privacy of victims, respect their wishes, and ensure that they have the power to determine how and when their personal experience of harassment or violence becomes public.
Consent of victims is perhaps the most critically important aspect of any process of reporting harassment.
The process that has unfolded on the Hill over the last few days found my colleagues learning that their experience of harassment was made public on twitter. That was a heartbreaking and violating experience that must never happen again.
People must feel that they will be protected when they report harassment, here on the Hill, and across the country.
Women are the leaders in the fight for equality, but I believe men must act as allies, and do everything they can to help create real positive change for women and girls.
As an ally to colleagues and staff here on the Hill, and to victims of harassment and violence everywhere, I will use my voice to speak in solidarity with you, and work for real change.
-Murray Rankin, Member of Parliament for Victoria