Lilah Hawell and Ava Farrah at the March4Justice in Canberra (Image: Supplied)

Maddie Chia and Avan Daruwalla, 20

ANUSA education officer Maddie Chia and ANU women’s officer Avan Daruwalla were the final pair to give speeches at the March4Justice event in Canberra. 

“It was really scary. We had no idea when we got up how many people were out there. It was actually really empowering,” Daruwalla said.

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“It was amazing to see like all different generations of women coming together,” Chia said.

Chia is optimistic change will happen.

“There’s a generation of young girls at school who are going to grow up and be in this position, and you wouldn’t wish that on anyone for sexual violence to happen to them.

“Unfortunately it’s just the sad reality so we need to stand up and change that and hopefully parliament will actually listen to us today,” she said.

“We’re not willing to let things stay the same. We’ll be here, we’ll be fighting,” Daruwalla said.

“Human decency is not that hard.” 

Avan Daruwalla and Maddie Chia

Sue Brian, 68

“I’m here until we can make the world and especially Australia a safe place for women. It’s a battle that I was fighting 60 years ago. I’m a bit tired of it.

“We have to change … we have patriarchy where someone is believed purely because he’s a mate of the prime minister and believed through faith, rather than through evidence. 

“No one should be assaulted. We have a right to be safe.”

Sue Brian

Lilah Hawell and Ava Farrah, 13

“Our school preaches so much to be feminists and stand up for what you believe in. We’re angry. We want to be equal and we want equality,” Hawell said.

“I want my school to support causes like this …  We want the school to do more to get involved in big things like this because one school alone or just one group of people alone is going to be enough.” 

“I just think it’s disgusting that it’s been going on for so long. No changes happen. And we’ve got a long, long way to go. We just want [the school] to get behind it and support us,” Farrah said. 

Lilah Hawell and Ava Farrah

Carolyn Amy, 59

Amy drove up from Melbourne after becoming concerned COVID-19 restrictions would stop the march from going forward there. She got up at the crack of dawn to drive the seven hours to Canberra.

“The organisers got frightened … you’re only allowed to go into Treasury Garden and sit on a chair or sit on a rock,” she said of the Melbourne protest.

“That’s not what marching and protesting is about. It’s a march for justice. It seems too ‘be a good girl quiet and dim’. I’m over being told what to do.” 

Carolyn Amy

Lonni Aylett, 41 and Jenna Aylett, 15

Lonni Aylett and her daughter Jenna team drove up from Sydney for the protest. 

“I’m incredibly angry, observing the pattern that we continue to see in parliament where politicians want the credit for believing women when they’re faceless, but as soon as a face is put to a complainant, but also their accuser, then suddenly politicians no longer go in the way that they said they [would]” Lonni said.

“I just think that people … are not giving sufficient weight to the motivations of the complainant versus those who have been accused.” 

“We want change in our country. We just want justice. We want it to be better for the people coming after us … I want it to be better for my daughter.” 

Jenna Aylett wants an inquiry launched into Christian Porter, and for Morrison and Porter to resign.

“In classrooms, [sexual violence] is an issue that’s danced around and tiptoed around,” she said.

“They talk about other issues like puberty that make students uncomfortable and make teachers uncomfortable. [But] even when they say that we’re going to be learning about these things, it gets skimmed over … to say that they’ve ticked that box.

“I’m not confident that it’s going to create change. There’s only one way that we can make change more likely and that’s by being louder.”

Jenna and Lonni Aylett

Beverly Baker, 70 and Yumi Lee, 56

“We are furious. Women have come from all over Australia to stand in the hot sun and say we care, enough is enough. And the prime minister doesn’t even have the decency to come out and listen,” Lee said.

“[Morrison] knows as well as we do that over 50 women are abused every week in care homes and facilities. These are the women on whose shoulders others stand today. The women who worked with senator Susan Ryan to get the anti-discrimination bill in place, the women who worked all their lives to make it better for other women only to find out that when they needed help, when they were vulnerable they’ve been locked up in institutions with no transparency, no opportunity and no one is listening to them,” Baker said.

Yumi Lee and Beverly Baker

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