Support has been thrown behind ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper over claims former NSW Labor leader Luke Foley’s indecently assaulted her at a Christmas party in 2016.
And so it should be.
Ms Raper released a statement on Thursday claiming Mr Foley had put his hand inside her underwear at a 2016 parliamentary Christmas after-party in Sydney’s CBD.
She gave her version of the alleged drunken behaviour after Liberal MP David Elliott raised the issue in October under parliamentary privilege.
Ms Raper’s account of the night has struck a chord with many females who can also recall similar experiences while doing their job.
Mr Foley vehemently denies the allegations and says he plans to launch defamation proceedings in the Federal Court. It's in no one's interest to try and pre-judge such a case, but this whole tawdry affair highlights something very real for many women working in a number of industries.
In 2018 no one - man or woman - should be made to feel uncomfortable. And not just when doing their job, but anywhere.
In all cases women have the right to be free of objectification and mistreatment. They have the right to be professional and do their job without fear of someone touching them inappropriately.
No one should make anyone feel like they are inferior or unable to do their job.
What Ms Raper did in speaking out about her experience was brave and right, particularly after Mr Elliott had disgracefully used parliamentary privilege to make public gain from her personal pain.
Women should be able to speak up when they are made to feel uncomfortable, when they are touched without asking, or when they're told to "smile love" when they are just trying to do a job.
- READ ALSO: NSW Labor MPs desert former leader Foley
Journalists speak to all types of people every day and they should feel comfortable going to work and reporting on issues. Women should be treated no differently to men, no matter what position they are in.
The one very good thing that can come out of this is that a conversation has started. Inappropriate treatment of women, in particular, happens more than we might care to believe and it must stop.
People need to think before they speak and they need to keep their hands to themselves. What feels comfortable to you may not to the next person. So please, stop, think and talk.
- Lifeline: 13 11 14.