Calls for change after 21-year-old footballer found not guilty of attempted sexual assault

With more than 50,000 individuals signing a petition calling for institutional reform in the aftermath of the verdict, widespread backlash is rising over a Melbourne footballer found not guilty of attempted sexual assault.

As she headed to work via the Melbourne CBD early on October 28, 2018, Jackson Williams, 21, caught a 39-year-old nurse from behind.

CCTV, seen in the video, shows Williams grabbing the woman in a headlock while she cried and resisted, pulling her down Healeys Lane.

Before sitting on top of her, the video shows him holding his hand on her mouth and tossing her to the ground.

When an off-duty police officer approached, Williams left the scene.

The attack was over in less than 40 seconds.

Earlier this month of assault with the intent to commit a sexual crime, the 21-year-old was found not guilty in Victoria’s County Court.

He was acquitted on an additional common assault charge.

There was no evidence for Judge Mandy Fox to show without reasonable doubt that the crime was sexually motivated.

But Emm Jones, a Melbourne woman, insists that it is enough when it comes to sexual assault.

A petition calling for an appeal against the ruling by the Director of Public Prosecutions has garnered mass public interest, Jones claims, because of Williams, but because of what the ruling reflects.

The mother-of-three says she doesn’t want to live in a world where her girls’ and her own safety is threatened only because they are women.

“We need to set a benchmark that, as a society, were are not going to tolerate this behaviour,” she told 7NEWS.com.au.

“There needs to be a standard that these crimes are unacceptable.

“Sentencing needs to be tougher, judges need to be tougher.”

Jones, a women’s rights and safety advocate, was first spurred to take action after a woman was sexually assaulted while walking home from the train in her home suburb of Seaford in 2017.

“The thing that got me was someone who commented on a post (about the story) and said, ‘Why was she walking home at 3am?’,” Jones said.

“More and more victims are being blamed.

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