Australian journalist Tracey Spicer has launched NOW Australia with the help of likeminded celebrities – a crowd-funding campaign and not-for-profit organisation that aims to raise A$250,000 to assist victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Initiated by journalist Tracey Spicer, it will cater to victims from all industries, giving them an understanding of their rights and options while offering support should they wish to speak out. The funds raised will also be used to connect victims with counselling and legal services.
More than 30 women across the arts and entertainment industry are ambassadors of NOW Australia, including Missy Higgins, Faustina Agolley, Deborah Mailman, Mahalia Barnes and Kate Miller-Heidke.
Its inaugural patron is Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry AO.
NOW Australia comes after Spicer called on Australians working in the media industry to contact her with their own #MeToo stories. She received more than 1,600 responses from people of different backgrounds who worked in various industries. Several respondents expressed fear as a reason for not speaking out about their experiences in the past.
Drumroll, please! We are proud to unveil @NOW_aust – our version of Time’s Up. Join our movement at https://t.co/NDVs9mYwmD to help anyone who has been sexually harassed, intimidated or assaulted in the workplace, NOW and for the next generation #thetimeisNOW #NOWAustralia pic.twitter.com/ZsPAcdyC4y
— Tracey Spicer AM (@TraceySpicer) March 24, 2018
Spicer told The Guardian Australia: “Storytelling is incredibly important – probably the most important [part of the #MeToo movement] – but it’s got to the stage in this movement where we need more than the hashtag. We need practical solutions for an endemic problem.”
It's not okay. It was never okay. And NOW, it ends. NOW Australia was created with one mission in mind: To end sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. pic.twitter.com/9WMdQQAtq4
— NOW Australia (@NOW_aust) March 25, 2018
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 Personal Safety Survey, around one in two women (4.9 million or 52%) had experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. Of those who experienced it, the most common forms of harassment were inappropriate comments about their body or sex life; unwanted touching; and indecent exposure.
Career Builder found the main reasons people did not report cases of sexual harassment in the workplace were that they feared being called a “troublemaker”, that they would not be believed, and that they were afraid they would lose their jobs.
In addition to providing support to sexual harassment victims, the organisation will implement long-term solutions such as providing educational resources to schools and workplaces, conducting research into workplace harassment, and lobbying the government.
NOW Australia has received praise from several individuals and organisations, including Diversity Council Australia, Women in STEMM and federal MP Tanya Plibersek. It has raised more than A$29,000 since its launch on 24 March 2018.
Congratulations @TraceySpicer We applaud your recognition of the complexity of this problem and the practical help being offered to survivors of sexual harassment. Combined efforts are needed to combat this serious and destructive element in Australian workplaces. https://t.co/sc0OhdyBVj
— DiversityCouncilAust (@DivCouncilAus) March 25, 2018
Sex discrimination is one of the biggest barriers to women getting leadership positions in the workplace. To read more, click here: Women, wages and Weinstein: The barriers to gender equality in the workplace.