Women of the Year

Julia Gillard warns women getting into politics should expect rape threats ‘almost daily’

Well, this is bleak then.

By Lorna Gray

Julia Gillard is certainly no stranger to sexism. But she’s revealed an even more horrific treatment reserved for women in positions of power: rape threats.

In a bleak AF address, Gillard spoke bluntly about the treatment online of women in the public eye.

She was speaking in London in memory of murdered British MP, Jo Cox.

"[Critics] have the power to fire barbs directly at their targets without any fear of consequence. At best, these can be snarky and occasionally witty criticisms of a politician's decisions or actions. At worst, they can take the form of detailed death threats, or threats of violence against family, friends and staff. And of course, as a woman in public life, the violent threats take on another sickening dimension. Threats of violent abuse, of rape, are far too common. A woman in public view may expect to receive them almost daily."

She continued:

"Our community would not consider it acceptable to yell violent, sexually charged abuse at a female politician walking down the street. Why is it okay to let these voices ring so loudly in our online worlds? These voices weaken, ridicule, humiliate and terrify. Not only do they challenge the resolve of the women who cop the abuse, but they deter other women from raising their hand to serve in public life. For all the structural barriers to women's participation in politics, and for all the gender bias and sexism that must be addressed, so too must we challenge and defeat the online abuse."

Hats off to Julia for tirelessly campaigning against this sort of bullshit. Incredibly harmful bullshit at that.