Rape culture: ‘No means no’
By Sapeer Mayron and Aimee Eastwood
Hundreds of high schools students filled the lawn at Parliament yesterday to protest rape culture in New Zealand, and to demand better consent education.
The protest was organised after boys at two colleges were suspended for social media posts and for filming teachers.
Wellington College students made jokes on social media about taking advantage of drunk women, and how that makes them “true [Wellington College] boys”.
St Patricks College Silverstream students filmed two women teachers inappropriately.
The Newswire team attended the protest to ask whether or not rape culture exists in New Zealand.
Andy Raba (25) left, of Aro Valley says that statistics say it all.
“That one in three women by the age of 16 have experienced sexual abuse indicate that something is fundamentally wrong with the way that society is set up, and it’s producing a rape culture.”
Students and adults alike recognise the presence of rape culture, and how entrenched it is in New Zealand.
Fred Konrad (30) right, Evans Bay: “Our Prime Minister regularly says that these things don’t matter or don’t have importance. Parliament defunding Rape Crisis Centre and Women’s Refuge, it is all part of a wider culture that says rape is not a real serious issue to be dealt with, but more that it’s somehow a joke and otherwise unimportant.”
Placards at the protest included “this sign would be funnier but rape isn’t a joke”.
Joel Tebbs (14), Kelburn, student: “Around school you know lots of people joking about stuff to do with rape. It doesn’t have to be serious when people say it, but if they joke about it, it’s normalizing it. And that’s just making the problem much, much worse.”
Denzel (17) Wellington, student: “It’s definitely a problem, even if they don’t mean it, this behaviour creates a culture.”
Rebecca Haylock (19) left, New Plymouth, student: “Seeing boys joke about rape, you can be afraid to be with some boys sometimes and that’s not fair.”
Mel Beirne (45) right, Brooklyn: “Yes, because people still believe that no doesn’t mean no.”
Some protesters felt rape culture is not necessarily a problem in all parts of New Zealand.
Jack (17) Wellington, Wellington College student: “It’s not as bad as other countries, but it’s not talked about it. This is the first time I’ve heard of it as something separate to domestic violence.”
Jasper (17) Wellington, St Patricks Silverstream student: “It’s in some circles more than others. There are people who perpetuate it more than others, and it probably needs to be addressed, and need to get on top of it.”