Rosemary Harwood never imagined she would become an activist, but after years of dogged campaigning, earlier this month a petition in honour of her daughter was tabled in Tasmania's parliament.
Ms Harwood's daughter Marjorie was a transgender woman who was placed in Risdon Prison due the gender on her birth certificate.
Like many transgender people, Marjorie had faced stints of homelessness and had struggled with her mental health.
A 2021 study by LGBTIQ+ Australia found that transgender people experience high levels of psychological distress, compared to moderate levels experienced by cisgender people and they are 15 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
Homelessness and food insecurity meant Marjorie had a criminal record of nonviolent crimes, something that Ms Harwood does not shy away from.
While incarcerated at Risdon in 2017 for stealing "a hot chook and a block of cheese", Marjorie was allegedly raped by five inmates.
Hospital records confirmed the assault was so severe that she spent several weeks in hospital, underwent several blood transfusions and was fitted with a colonoscopy bag.
The Tasmanian Department of Justice was approached for comment, but said it could not respond to the allegations.
"For privacy reasons, and considering legal action has been foreshadowed, it is not appropriate to comment on these allegations," a Department of Justice spokesperson said.
"The Tasmania Prison Service has a comprehensive policy for transgender, transsexual and intersex prisoners which prioritises safety, and treats prisoners with dignity and respect."
Ms Harwood said the trauma of the assault had left Marjorie so emotionally scarred that when she found herself facing the possibility of returning to Risdon, she lost her will to live and chose to refuse treatment for a pre-existing kidney condition.
"This was not the first rape in prison - she was raped in a prison on the mainland too, but this is the one that took the toll," Ms Harwood said.
"She gave up on life and she looked at me and told me 'I want to die Mum'."
Marjorie died in 2018 and since then, Ms Harwood has been determined to change the system that she believes let her daughter down.
Ms Harwood has been campaigning to introduce 'Marjorie's Law' to advocate for the rights of transgender inmates.
She believes Marjorie's placement with male inmates put her at risk, and she is determined to change the system.
"I can't do anything for her now," Ms Harwood said
"But I might be able to help save someone else."
Labor corrections spokeswoman Ella Haddad tabled the 'Marjorie's Law' petition in parliament and said she would be speaking with Labor ministers nationally to begin the conversation about the right of transgender people in Australia's prison system.
"Rosemary continues to mourn the tragic and violent circumstances that led to her daughter Marjorie's death and she is to be commended for fighting so strongly for the rights of transgender prisoners like Marjorie to be safe in prison," Ms Haddad said.
"I hope that through Rosemary highlighting Marjorie's case and campaigning strongly, that changes will be made both here in Tasmania as well as in prisons around the country, to make sure that what happened to Marjorie can never be repeated."
Losing Marjorie is something that Ms Harwood struggles with daily, but she remains determined to keep fighting in memory of her daughter.
"It's all for Marjorie," she said.
"Anything for Marjorie."
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