Does New Zealand have a rape culture? Views from the street
Rape culture is alive in New Zealand according to about two-thirds of the people spoken to on the streets of Wellington today.
Rowan Kraemer (22) right, described the culture as pervasive.
“Yeah I’d say that we do. I guess because you see a pervasive attitude in the media and the way people talk about women and consent, and unsettling situations. There are some blurred messages out there.”
Students Haileigh Patterson (18) left, and PJ Emi (19) described what it was like going out in the city.
“If you’re in town people think they can grab you. I’ve been grabbed so many times, like, fully grabbed by people that I know as well. So I definitely think it’s present,” Haileigh said.
PJ, right, said: “Definitely. I think there is a rape culture in this country. You can’t go out into town these days without getting grabbed. It’s like, if you want to avoid sexual harassment, don’t go into town on a Friday, Saturday night.”
The issue has flared in the past week after students at two colleges in the region were suspended for social media posts and filming women teachers.
The incidents prompted more than 500 people to gather outside Parliament yesterday in a protest organised by Wellington East Girls College students.
The Newswire team spoke to 36 people and asked whether they thought there was a rape culture in the country.
For Willow Grace-Morton (18) left,the question was personal.
“My dad has parties with friends. One morning I woke up and his friend was next to me and like touching me. It didn’t go that far because I got out of the bed and told my mum. I feel like I have this radar, so like I can tell when they want something. I don’t think it’s really big here compared to other places, but I think it still happens.”
Rebecca Goode (24) right, of Te Aro did not think there was so much of a culture when she compared it to other countries.
“I think in the UK it’s a lot worse. I feel pretty safe walking around here, but obviously I think it happens everywhere in the world. People are generally a bit nicer than back home [in England].”
Among those who said no, many like Harry Grieves (57) knew people were talking about it, but referred to not witnessing it.
Similarly, Eluned Evan- Adams (24) left, said it was good that the conversation was happening.“In my personal circles I don’t really see it, so no I don’t think there is a rape culture,” she said.
Wellingtonian Megan Watson (37) says consent is the issue and described the Parliament protest as “a real message of hope”.
“I think it depends how you define rape culture, we have a society that needs to learn more about what consent is and get a better understanding. I think the protest yesterday, all the young men and women who attended show that we are going in a positive direction.”
“Good to get consent out there, and taught in schools. I’ve been following the current issues and the marches. I think they have the right idea. And the fact that it’s still happening is shocking so it’s good to have it discussed.”
Other comments included:
Oliver O’Leary (33), right: “Well it’s a tough question, I’m not sure. I suppose not in my circle of influence it’s an issue. In my case it’s not a day to day thing that occurs. That’s only my personal experience.”
Aqua Aukuso 17 left, student: “I don’t know. Heaps of my school girls went to the protest. Lately there have been a lot of boys who think they can treat girls like toys and that’s not the go. And they just think it’s alright to take advantage of us if we do say no.”
Rosemary Brown (57) right, Karori: “Not particularly, no, It’s not a label I would use. Perhaps it doesn’t get reported enough. I don’t think it’s particularly high, the exposure isn’t that high from my perspective.”
Joel Simpson (16) left, Johnsonville student: “No I don’t think so. I think the media has sort of overblown it. I don’t think it’s as bad as it seems to be.”
Carlous Chambers (16) right, Brooklyn: “No. It’s something random that happens like once every 10 years. I mean with gangs, yeah they rape. There’s that dominant thing for people sexually. But no, it’s not a rape culture.”
Claire Davis (17) left below, Miramar: “Yes. I think that we don’t really get educated enough in schools. I mean you can just walk down the street and see sexual harassment. It’s everywhere, it’s in the media, it’s in the schools. And I think that’s because of education.”
Manisha Patel (25) right below, Kilbirnie: “Yea, personally I haven’t actually met anyone that has been raped but I do think there is a lot of it. I definitely think that there is something going on. I’m just not personally aware of it.”
Truin Howell, Johnsonville says it’s not as bad as some places he’s lived in. He has seen rape culture first hand in workplaces around NZ.
Emma Smillie (16) right below, Wellington Girls College student, Northland, thinks NZ has a rape culture. She recently covered social problems for a school assessment and rape and drinking culture were involved. The Roastbusters case and Wellington College boys social media comments were key topics. “Several of the girls thought that it wasn’t a problem and that boys were being boys. There’s defiantly a problem if you’re making those comments at that age”.
Shagen Ganason (52) left, Porirua, does not think there is a rape culture: “I see it from an older generation’s point of view as opposed to younger, so I will have a different perspective as I see different things. I acknowledge that there is an apparent culture but it’s more visible to the younger generation”.
Sophia Garner (15) Wellington Girls College student, thinks New Zealand has a rape culture and people make jokes about rape when they don’t understand or know what it’s like. “It’s not only the WC boys but it’s everywhere in every school and that’s a problem. ”
Lily Merral (15) right, Wellington Girls College student, Karori: “It’s about time people talk about this and get things done”. She worries that for some the comments brings back old memories. “The comments are hurting those who are prone to it and those who have already been affected. I’ve seen it school some of the girls are being reminded of things they don’t want to remember. ”
Samuel Martin (18) left, student, Wellington, says that New Zealand has a rape culture because of the way women are treated on social media and the way guys react to females. “They get heckled in different types of ways and the way some men react isn’t okay. An example would be the Wellington College boys’ comments.
G. Moore, doesn’t know if there is a rape culture in New Zealand. “I’m very much for the rights for every individual and I don’t think anyone should control anyone else.”
Paul Marsh (37) Wellington Inner city is not sure but sees alcohol as an issue. “People get drunk and it becomes like a zoo.”
Stacey Dalziel (15) right, student, Wellington Girls College says the problem has been affecting the world and New Zealand specifically for a long time. “In 2017 it should be something that doesn’t exist. As a community it is our job to destroy it and making it something that women don’t have to worry about any more.”
Finnian Reyes-Skinziel (20) left, Kandallah, was born in US and moved to New Zealand last year. Her mother had heard that New Zealand is a misogynistic. “Maybe in the smaller towns there maybe ideas that comes from different people, whatever you’re influenced by.”
Jono Jackson (24) right, Karori says the issue is brought up in the media. “Stuff like this is blown up a lot in the media, compared to other countries it is better. I think that we can be better as a country.”
Storm Masters (19) left, Lyall Bay/Kilburnie. “No, Not really. People who get drunk appear to get a different attitude, but women tend to take a lot of blame because of what they may wear to make it pleasing for guys.”
Julia DuFresne of Hawkes Bay doesn’t agree that rape is normalised or acceptable in New Zealand, but that the availability of pornography online contributes to violence towards women. “Rape is illegal, and most people find it abhorrent”.
Joseph Aligno (24) right, Wellington: “I’m new here in New Zealand, so I wouldn’t have any opinion regarding it here. There is such a culture in my home country. Back in my country [Philippines] there’s that culture too, it’s a horrible thing.”
Tom Phillips (24) Wellington, student: “Yes. Well I just think the whole world has it, I don’t think there is anywhere that doesn’t have it in 2017.”
Ceridwyn Roberts (46) left, Berhampore, Communications at MOTU: “Yes. The only reason I didn’t go to the protest yesterday is because I was working, and could not. One of the jobs I had when I first started out was at Rape Crisis, and it was patently obvious then, and I don’t think much has changed, certainly not in terms of schools where what young people get taught, because they don’t get taught anything differently. I think a lot of people, like mums, are trying to change things for kids but when you don’t see that coming through the schools. It’s very difficult for them to change. So that’s sad. Although I would very much like my nine-year-old boy not to be a part of rape culture. I’ll try.”
Oscar Reed (19) right, Te Aro, student: “Yeah, little bit. I’m sure you guys saw what happened yesterday. I don’t know. I think the parents want the schools to teach it, the schools want the parents to teach it. Everyone is blaming someone else.”
Clive Liard (54) left, Island Bay compute, analyst doesn’t think there is a rape culture. “Guys who get drunk get a different attitude (while drunk). ”
Georgia Watson, (19) Palmerston North student: “After watching the news last night I would say yes. I don’t really think about New Zealand as being like that until I saw news last night.”
Stacey Rutherford (19) right, Lower Hutt Student at Fashion Tech: “Yes, I guess because people always blame girls for what they wear, stuff like short skirts.”
Sarah Huberley (18) Masterton: “I’m not really sure or educated enough to make a good statement but there are times where me or people that I know have felt unsafe. Things like wolf whistling or being checked out make me uncomfortable.”
The NewsWire team is: Tayla Quinn, Albion Haines, Yanni Campbell, Malachai Unasa, Anil Ganason, Aimee Eastwood, Sapeer Mayron.