When Grace Tame was named Australian of the Year in January, many of us felt a sense of forward momentum - a sense that things were finally changing when it comes to the narrative around sexual abuse and harassment.
Ms Tame - a rape survivor and tenacious campaigner for legal reform around the way such things are dealt with in the judicial system - gave a raw, powerful and rousing address at the National Press Club last week.
In it, she urged everyone present - many of whom had teared up by the end of her speech - to "share your truth".
"One voice, your voice, and our collective voices can make a difference.
"We are on the precipice of a revolution whose call to action needs to be heard loud and clear," she said.
"That's right. You got it. Let's keep making noise, Australia."
And yet, a separate, awful drama was playing out, centred on one of the nation's top politicians.
The Attorney-General was about to out himself as the subject of historical rape allegations that had come to light the week before.
After his press conference, he would announce a period of leave for health reasons, just as his fellow cabinet minister, Senator Linda Reynolds, had also done in the wake of allegations that a Liberal staffer had been raped in her office in March 2019.
And, on the very day of Ms Tame's address, The Canberra Times ran a front-page story about the Chief of the Defence Force, Angus Campbell, defending his comments to female cadets that they take care to avoid becoming victims of sexual predators.
His advice - perhaps he thought it was helpful - was to avoid wearing revealing clothing, drinking alcohol, and being out alone after midnight.
All of these matters came up, inevitably, during questions after Ms Tame's speech.
Journalist after journalist - and there were more than usual at this extraordinary lunch on this newsier-than-usual day - lined up to gauge her reaction to these awful, unfolding sagas.
Despite having declared current political events off-limits, she listened patiently, and often gave short, terse answers.
And her face said it all as she confronted what was an undeniable fact.
Australia has a long way to go when it comes to the national discourse about sexual assault and abuse, from the very centres of power down to the average, hidden household.
Her face hardened, and her mouth tightened when told of Angus Campbell's comments to female cadets.
She was disdainful and dismissive of the notion that the events on the Hill were in any way remarkable.
And she reserved her particular ire for the Prime Minister, and his assertions that it was thoughts of his own daughters that led him to consider Brittany Higgins' allegations more carefully.
These issues - and the men involved, named or otherwise - threatened to dominate the Press Club address that was being held, ironically, to mark International Women's Day. But Ms Tame refused to let that happen. Her speech, and her answers, cut right through to the essence of the day.
It's true that, in weeks like this, many of us could have been forgiven for thinking that her new position meant nothing when such things kept on happening.
Just five weeks into her role, and the news continues to be filled with such grubbiness.
But instead, she allowed us to believe - even if only for that brief hour over lunch - that the country could move forward.
"History, lived experience, the whole truth, unsanitised and unedited, is our greatest learning resource," she said.
So perhaps these past few weeks are just that - history playing out in front of us, so that we can all learn from it and move forward.
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