We saw this earlier in the year with Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, and it was the reason ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper hadn’t come forward about the alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Labor MP Luke Foley, two years ago.
ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper has alleged the leader of the New South Wales Labor party put his hands inside her underpants at a Christmas function in 2016. The alleged incident was witnessed by another journalist, Sean Nicholls, who at the request of Raper, stayed quiet.
In a two-minute statement to press yesterday, Luke Foley resigned as the leader of the opposition but said the allegation that he put his hand in Raper’s underwear was “false” and that he is beginning defamation proceedings.
He says his decision to resign is to focus on clearing his name.
“I can’t fight to clear my name and fight an election at the same time. It’s just not possible to do both. Therefore, I’m resigning the leadership of the Labor party effective today. This will enable the new leader to give their full attention to defeating the Liberal National government.”
Whilst Ms Raper has not made a formal complaint to police, her allegations should be taken very seriously.
In her statement detailing the incident the ABC journalist said, “He stood next to me, he put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants. He rested his hand on my buttocks. I completely froze.”
Her statement continued to detail her and journalist Sean Nicholls discussing the assault, “Mr Foley then left the bar. Sean and I discussed what happened. As shaken as I was, I decided not to take any action and asked Sean to keep the events in the strictest confidence. He has honoured that.”
Ms Raper detailed the reasons that she, and many other women, don’t come forward and report sexual assault.
“I cherished my position as a state political reporter and feared that would be lost. I also feared the negative impact the publicity could have on me personally and on my young family.
“This impact is now being felt profoundly.”
Raper's decision to come forward now is down to three things, three things that should be respected and listened too.
“First, women should be able to go about their professional lives and socialise without being subject to this sort of behaviour. And I want it to stop.
“Second, situations like mine should not be discussed in parliament for the sake of political point scoring. And I want it to stop.
“Third, I want to get on with my life.”
In the wake of these allegations a few things are clear: When women like Ashleigh Raper come forward, it is a reminder that women should be able to live their life free from being molested by men who believe they can get away with it.