Crowds of frustrated Australians descended on town centres around the country on Monday to call for an end to sexual violence amid allegations arising out of the highest offices in the land.
Thousands gather to demand the government take meaningful action to resolve a cultural issue within Parliament House and government at large, but the push for change extends beyond just our elected officials.
While Monday's turnout forced the country's leaders to face the music, the battle to resolve the culture will extend well into the future.
Why was March 4 Justice organised?
March 4 Justice was set up by organiser Janine Hendry in response to an allegation of rape within Parliament House made by former Liberal Party staffer, Brittany Higgins.
Ms Higgins revealed her story in February and, in response, the government launched a number of reviews in an attempt to fix the culture and the way institutions respond to such disclosures.
But amid the public support, stories from senior government ministers told a different story with Defence Minister Linda Reynolds admitting to, and later apologising for, calling her a "lying cow".
On March 15, supporters stirred by Ms Higgins' story and her treatment along with a historical rape allegation levelled at Attorney-General Christian Porter attended one of the 40 rallies held around the nation.
The movement's message is simple: "Women have been struggling for our rights alone for too long, and enough is enough."
At the Canberra rally, outside Parliament House, Ms Higgins faced the crowd of thousands to break her silence.
"Speak up. Share your truth and know that you have a generation of women ready, willing and able to support you," Ms Higgins told protesters.
"Take ownership of your story and free yourself from the stigma of shame.
"Together, we can bring about real, meaningful reform to the workplace culture inside Parliament House and, hopefully, every workplace, to ensure the next generation of women can benefit from a safer and more equitable Australia."
How did our leaders respond?
Minister for Women Marise Payne and Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the decision not to attend the any of the rallies but extended a meeting invitation for the movement's organiser, Janine Hendry.
On Monday morning, Ms Hendry turned down the offer and urged the protests to go ahead.
"We have already come to the front door, now it's up to the government to cross the threshold and come to us," Ms Hendry said.
"We will not be meeting behind closed doors."
Mr Morrison later told Parliament protesters were lucky to be able to demonstrate peacefully in Australia.
"Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not here in this country," Mr Morrison said on Monday.
"It is good and right that so many are able to gather here in this way, whether in our capital or elsewhere, and to do so peacefully to express their concerns and their very genuine and real frustrations."
Mr Morrison, who was already criticised for snubbing the protest, said the government had taken action following Ms Higgins' allegations by announcing a review of Parliament's processes.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Morrison's words were a "wall of concrete" to the protesters chanting just metres away.
"They're crying out that this is a moment that requires leadership," Mr Albanese said on Monday afternoon.
"Forget about the political management, just listen to what they're saying and then act because we are in a position to act."
What happens next?
The movement is calling for four main actions to follow Monday's rallies.
Among them is the government's commitment to implement the 55 recommendations put forward in the Australian Human Rights Commission's Respect@Work report of the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces 2020.
Another key demand is to implement a system where full independent investigations can be launched into cases of gendered violence.
They're also calling for increased public funding to gendered violence prevention and an enactment of the Gender Equality Act to include equity audits of Parliamentary practices.
Right now, they remain demands until the government decides whether it wants to step in and make them realities.
Australian of the Year and sexual assault survivor Grace Tame told the Hobart rally that behaviour ignored was behaviour endorsed.
"The fear of doing nothing should outweigh your fear of doing something," Ms Tame said on Monday, adding that making noise about the issue was just the first step.
But then comes the meaningful action in response to it. Otherwise, stories, like Ms Higgins', will continue to surface.
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