A former government staffer said she was raped in the Australian Parliament House prompting an apology and promise of an investigation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, CNN reported Tuesday.
Former staffer Brittany Higgins said that a former colleague raped her in the defense minister’s office in March 2019, CNN reported. Morrison fired the person Higgins said raped her for breaching security and promised to investigate the incident.
“That should not have happened, and I do apologize,” Morrison said, CNN reported. “I want to make sure any young woman working in this place is as safe as possible.”
Higgins said that she “woke up mid-rape essentially” after falling asleep on a couch, according to The Project. “He was sweaty, I couldn’t get him off of me, at this point, I started crying.”
Brittany Higgins should have been able to go to work, go out, fall asleep and be completely and utterly safe.
Women should be safe. But we’re not. Not at home, not at work, not on the street. Not even in Parliament House.
Strength to Brittany & all survivors today.
— Senator Nita Green (@nitagreenqld) February 15, 2021
Higgins said that she decided against making a formal police complaint in April 2019 because she was worried about the potential impact on her career, CNN reported. Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said she would have held the meeting where Higgins told her about the rape somewhere other than her office had she known.
“It should not have taken my story, or the story of other victim-survivors to air on national television for the Prime Minister — or any Member of Parliament — to take action on workplace sexual harassment, assault or bullying,” Higgins said, CNN reported.
The investigation into the incident will examine how complaints are managed and the office culture, according to Morrison, CNN reported. Higgins said the investigation is “long overdue” but thanked Morrison for his apology.
Several allegations have been made by females working within the government party, according to CNN. Former immigration minister Alan Tudge was accused of improper behavior by a female staffer last year.