Armidale's Beardy Street Mall was filled with hundreds of protestors on Monday at lunchtime as part of the nationwide March4Justice movement.
The event was one of 40 rallies across Australia as thousands of survivors and their allies called for gender equality and justice for victims of sexual assault in the face of two separate alleged rape scandals plaguing the government.
Brittany Higgins addressed the Parliament House protest in Canberra as crowds massed in Sydney and Melbourne.
In the nation's capital, after coming forward last month with her claim of being raped in a minister's office by a colleague two years ago, Ms Higgins said she had watched the story play out in the media as members of the government she worked for until earlier this year leaked against her.
In Armidale, local singer (and self-proclaimed 'victim survivor') Emily Stocker was the emcee for the event and read out the list of demands on the petition signed by tens of thousands of people.
It included strengthening of the Sex Discrimination Act to ensure parliamentarians and judges were not excluded from accountability.
The first speaker for the day was Jenny Teece, who has a background working in the NGO sector and is currently employed as a social worker at Armidale Hospital. Ms Teece grew up in Moree in the 1960s with Debra O'Brien.
"I stand here today as a white, straight, able-bodied woman of privilege, and I do not wish to suggest that women are powerless, but I do understand that the protection that comes with my privilege is not available to all women," Ms Teece said.
"I grew up in rural NSW in a time when violence against women - rape, gang rape, harassment, racism, sexism, and misogyny was normalised and in plain sight.
"Woman didn't speak out because those who did suffered enormously - whether they were believed or not it didn't matter so enough was enough then, and now 50 years later I feel frustration and at times despair at the seeming lack of progress."
Local Anawain woman Fiona Lovelock said her motivation for speaking at the rally was that, as a black woman, she had experienced discrimination on many levels.
She asked if a white middle-class woman was not being believed - what did that mean for Aboriginal women?
"We're not here with pitchforks," she said.
"We are here with sane minds to make sense as to why women, in general, are not believed and why gendered violence is so accepted in our society."
The final speaker was Armidale deputy mayor Debra O'Brien who gave a passionate address and later told the Express she was furious over recent events.
Speaking to the gathered crowd, she tore into the political system she was trying to change from the inside out.
"They don't even have a procedure for sexual assault in our actual law-making institution," Ms O'Brien said.
"Yes, learning what consent is, is crucial, but unless men see women as equals, as deserving the same power and rights as they have - then no one will care about consent.
"Today, we take back our power and tell the swinging dicks we have had a gutful.
"Enough is freaking bloody enough."
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