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'Touched inappropriately' by powerful men in Parliament: Australian lawmaker alleges sexual assault

An Australian lawmaker has levelled sexual assault charges against a fellow senate member adding that the parliament is not a safe place for women to work.

Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Published on: June 15, 2023 14:25 IST
Australian lawmaker Lidia Thorpe
Image Source : SCREENGRAB Australian lawmaker Lidia Thorpe

An Australian lawmaker has alleged that she had been sexual assaulted by ‘powerful men’ adding that the parliament building is not a ‘safe place’ for women to work.

Making an address in the Senate, independent lawmaker Lidia Thorpe said that sexual comments were passed on her, and she was cornered in a stairwell, inappropriately touched and propositioned by powerful men.

She accused a fellow senator of sexually assaulting her before she was forced to withdraw a remark under the threat of parliamentary sanction.

The lawmaker made allegations against conservative David Van who outrightly denied the charges and said he was shattered and battered by the accusation. However, following the alleged allegations, Van has been suspended.

While making her allegations, the independent lawmaker said, “What I experienced was being followed, aggressively propositioned and inappropriately touched.”

"I was afraid to walk out of the office door. I would open the door slightly and check the coast was clear before stepping out," she told lawmakers.

"It was to the degree that I had to be accompanied by someone whenever I walked inside this building," she added.

"I know there are others that have experienced similar things and have not come forward in the interests of their careers,” she added.

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