Rape Culture NZ

tania billingsleyBillingsley reminds us rape and sex abuse can be prevented

By Fiona McNamara, Coordinator, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network

Tania Billingsley’s choice to have name suppression lifted and talk about rape culture that facilitated her assault highlights the prevalence of sexual violence in NZ and reminds us that it can be prevented.

Minister for Sexual Violence Paula Bennett responded to Billingsley, agreeing that New Zealand does have a rape culture and stating the importance of education to challenge this: “You can see it in the language that is used by some people. You can certainly see it in pretty much a pub or a nightclub in New Zealand on most weekends to be quite frank. So we have a lot of education to do there, I think”.[1]

In New Zealand, it is estimated that 29% of women and 9% of men report unwanted and distressing sexual contact in their lifetimes.[2]

We can prevent sexual abuse in our society by challenging the beliefs, attitudes and cultures that support it and by teaching people skills to engage in alternatives to sexual violence such as safe, equal and healthy sexual relationships.

Sexual violence prevention should be a school priority

Sexual Abuse Prevention Networks delivers a range of prevention programmes in schools in Wellington. The Network is able to reach one ‘year group’ in 3-6 schools per year with the current amount of funding it receives from Government.

At least half of all sexual violence incidents in New Zealand involve alcohol.[3]

People working in venues where alcohol is served are in an ideal position to prevent sexual abuse — and we run a programme tailored for hospitality and security staff.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is part of the “Who Are You?” Collaboration that is currently leading a project to establish a Wellington Safer Bars Alliance – a network of bars where staff are trained to intervene to prevent sexual assault.

For more information contact Fiona McNamara, Coordinator, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, 027 631 0742, 04 801 8970, coordinator@sexualabuseprevention.org.nz

[1] http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/minister-agrees-diplomat-s-alleged-victim-6023669

[2] (Mayhew, P. and Reilly, J., (2009), Ministry of Justice, The New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey 2006)

[3] (Mayhew, P. and Reilly, J., (2009), Ministry of Justice, The New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey 2006)