There’s one thing Tracey Spicer has been determined to do since joining the #MeToo movement.
The TV journalist-turned activist has been committed to giving those women who can’t stand up for themselves a voice.
They are the victims who feel trapped, who can’t see any way out from the nightmare.
Many are still working at the companies at which they were or are currently being sexually harassed.
They simply can’t afford to leave.
“I started receiving disclosures from people in the media and the entertainment industry back in October but over the past five months, increasingly it’s people – predominately women, from every sector – who are contacting me from some of the most low-paid professions in the country,” the 50-year-old broadcaster told 9Honey.
“Women in retail, hospitality, on the factory floors, a lot of single mothers who just don’t have the power to be able to complain about sexual harassment or indecent assault and fear they’re going to have a black mark against their name and don’t feel like they have the support.”
She told 9Honeyshe thought it was a great opportunity for Australia to give marginalised women support and offer them resources. That’s how she came up with Now Australia.
There are a lot of authorities around that you can go to,” she explains. “For example, you can go to the Fair Work Commission, you can go to the Human Rightsand Equal Opportunities Commission, or one of the wonderful women’s legal centres or help centres.
“But the problem is that for a lot of people when they are going through something like this, they are so frightened that they don’t know where to go, they don’t know who to contact, and also a lot of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission authorities only have a six-month statute of limitations.”
Spicer says it can take that long for women to build up the courage to make a complaint in the first place.
“So what we want to create is a portal or a triage service that is effectively a one-stop-shop where people know the number, they know the email address, they contact us and we connect them to the right service.”
Spicer says an employees worker’s union is often the right place to start when it comes to workplace sexual harassment.
“A woman contacted me to say she is working in hospitality, she has very insecure working conditions,” she explains. “She’s been serially sexually harassed, groped and grabbed by her boss for about a year now and she just doesn’t know what to do.
“She needs to keep paying the rent, she needs her job even though it is a casual job, and she feels like she has no job security and nowhere to go.”
Spicer said the woman has sent her a lot of documentation showing the multiple ways she has been desperately seeking help.
“She’s gone down the path of going to the legal centre to going to the Fair Work Commission… the wheels move very slowly and she’s still in that job where she’s being groped and grabbed.
“These processes move so slowly and women remain victimised in their own workplaces.”
Spicer is joined by incredible celebrity ambassadors to assist with her latest project, many of whom have been sexually harassed themselves, and those who just want to lend a hand and tell women, “You are not alone.”
Sacha Horler, Izzi Manfredi, Zahra Newman, Clare Bowditch, Missy Higgins, Prinnie Stevens, Ella Hooper, Helen Dallimore, Faustina Agolley, Candy Bowers and Melinda Schneider have all signed up to show their support.
“We put out the call and these wonderful women came forward like Tina Arena — fantastic women from theatre and film.
“They represent a whole cross-section of women in the community.”