All in the family as three generations join Australia’s rally for gender equality

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Janette Condon, Belinda Barnard and Xero Marks were bound by something stronger than gender as they joined tens of thousands of women to protest against sexual violence at Australia’s Parliament House on Monday.

The three generations of the same family joined the “March 4 Justice” rallies as women converged in cities across the country to express solidarity with victims of sexual assault.

“I want to be able to feel safe and I want to feel protected and I want to know that people in parliament are going to do something about it,” said Marks, 11, who identifies as non-binary.

The protests were in response to a string of allegations of sexual assault connected to Australia’s parliament, including a historic rape allegation levelled at Attorney-General Christian Porter, who strongly denies the claim.

Another allegation was made by a former staffer of the ruling conservative coalition, Brittany Higgins, who says she was raped inside Parliament House. She addressed the crowd as Marks, Marks’s mother Barnard, 44, and grandmother Condon, 65, looked on.

“The conversation has moved on in the last thirty years but I’d like it to leap a lot further forward for my children,” said Barnard.

Condon added: “It’s extremely important that we all share these topics, discuss them openly, with all generations.”