Church leaders praise ‘courageous’ women like Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame for dragging sexual assault ‘into the light’ in Good Friday services
- Religious leaders have praised women speaking out about inequality and abuse
- March for Justice rallies last month saw thousands of Australian women protest
- The movement has spread since Grace Tame was named Australian of the Year
Two weeks after thousands of women protested gender inequality and sexual violence in the March4Justice rallies, religious leaders have used their Easter address to praise women such as Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins.
Ms Tame was awarded the 2021 Australian of the Year after winning a landmark court case allowing her to publicly speak of her abuse as a schoolgirl.
Since then, former government staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped inside parliament house then made to feel like a political problem.
Then one of the government’s highest-ranking cabinet ministers was accused of a historical rape, which he denies.
Thousands of current and former schoolgirls also came forward with harrowing accounts of their sexual assaults as students.
The procession travelling around the Cathedral during the Stations of the Cross as part of Good Friday Easter services at St Mary’s Cathedral (pictured) in Sydney on Friday
Ms Tame (left) was awarded the 2021 Australian of the Year after winning a landmark court case allowing her to publicly speak of her abuse as a schoolgirl, and Ms Higgins (right) became a leader of the recent movement addressing a rally of hundreds at one of the March for Justice protests in March
Reverend Geoffrey Smith, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, said Australians had seen much darkness over the past year – from inequality and gendered violence to the hardship caused by the pandemic.
‘Thankfully, light has begun to shine on these and other areas,’ he said in his annual Easter message.
‘There has been the light of vaccine development, the light of people speaking out, the light of public awareness.
‘All of this has been very good yet more light is required.’
The President of the Uniting Church in Australia joined Reverend Smith in encouraging women to continue to speak up.
An actor portraying Jesus carrying a cross during a Good Friday Crucifixion Walk, in Sydney (pictured)
Good Friday is the one of the highest religious holidays observed by Christians all over the world commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus before his resurrection three days later
They could take inspiration from two women named Mary, who spread the good news of Jesus’ resurrection after discovering his tomb empty.
‘In the face of doubt and a society that discounted women’s voices, the women left that place and shared the good news with great joy,’ Dr Deidre Palmer said.
‘These women’s courageous witness has echoed down through the centuries. We have the good news today because of their testimony.’
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Reverend Anthony Fisher said Australia’s turn around within a year was a symbol of hope.
‘Twelve months ago, just before Holy Week, we went into lockdown… but the Easter paradox prevailed,’ he said.
‘A year later, we’re free to worship again. The egg has cracked, the walls been torn down and new life emerges.’
The procession travelling around the Cathedral during the Stations of the Cross as part of Good Friday Easter services at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Good Friday 2021
Members of the congregation at St Mary’s Catherdral in Sydney on Friday (pictured)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his annual Easter message to praise the ‘great spirit’ and ‘mateship’ shown during one of Australia’s most difficult 12 months.
In a video alongside his wife Jenny, Mr Morrison said people will come together at the Easter weekend ‘in a way they haven’t been able to do over the past year’ because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘The past year has been a tough one, and I particularly want to thank Australians for the great spirit that they’ve shown to each other,’ the prime minister said in the message released on Good Friday.
‘It’s our capacity to love our neighbour as ourselves that I think has really demonstrated the great Aussie spirit of mateship over this past year.’