I was shocked’ Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath reveals sexual harassment
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath claims she was sexually harassed on two occasions as a teenager, one incident was by a family friend.
Ms D’Ath went public with the allegations during an interview with Brisbane radio’s 4BC, one day after thousands of Australians gathered for March 4 Justice protests.
She said the first alleged incident occurred when she was a young teen, about 13 or 14, and involved a family friend, a father, who asked her to kiss him goodbye.
“As I was leaving, no one else was around, he asked for a kiss goodbye,” Ms D’Ath told 4BC’s Scott Emerson.
“I go to give him a peck on the cheek. After I did that he said ‘no, you can do better than that. I want you to kiss me like you would kiss your boyfriend’.
“I was shocked and just walked away”.
Ms D’Ath, who has this week focused on Queensland’s new confirmed coronavirus cases, then mentioned a second alleged incident when she was 18.
She alleges a man attempted to kiss her in an office environment, where she worked, when the pair were alone.
“I have no doubt both these men have never thought of me ever again, wouldn’t have any idea who I am,” she said.
“For them this was nothing – for me I’ve always remembered it.”
Ms D’Ath said she never told any adults about the alleged incidents, other than with her peers.
“We spoke about this dad, that he was creepy,” she said.
“And we never wanted to be in the same room as him. None of us told any adults. You just don’t at that age.
“And when I was 18, knowing this happened, and this guy was friends with the owner, (and) it happened with no one else around, first you just want to forget about it.
“But secondly, you don’t believe anyone is going to listen to you… it would have been his word against mine… and I just kept silent on it.”
Ms D’Ath said while she wasn’t physically touched in the alleged incidents and she was able to “walk away”, it is still an important conversation.
“It’s nowhere near as serious as what so many women have experienced in the community and in their workplace, but I still think it’s important to talk about.
“Because it does leave a mark on you, you do remember it… but for me it’s more about we have to shine a light on the prevalence of this and show that this does still happen despite the laws in place.”
Ms D’Ath said yesterday’s rally in Brisbane, walking among the crowds to demand change to gendered violence, prompted her to speak out.
“It just made me think, how can I expect an 18-year-old in the workplace who maybe getting sexually harassed or assaulted, to have a voice and speak up if I can’t talk about my lived experience,” she said.
Asked what she’d say to the men in the alleged incidents, Ms D’Ath said “they’re both grubs”.
“I wish I’d told someone at the time,” she said.