Judy O’brien’s Speech at the #WeToo March

Judy O’brien’s Speech at the #WeToo March

I’m Judy O’Brien, Coordinator for Sexual Abuse Prevention Network – a collaboration of two survivor support agencies – Wellington Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Help Foundation and an agency that works with offenders – WellStop. Sexual Abuse Prevention Network offers a range of programmes for professionals, and young people to develop skills to identify risky situations and strategies to intervene safely.  We also offer programmes that focus on improving understanding of consent and ethical sexual decision making. When preparing what I was going to say tonight, a friend suggested I just get up here and scream for three minutes because that’s honestly all I’ve wanted to do for the past couple of weeks. The recent media attention given to the stories of people calling out the abusive behaviour of men in powerful positions has brought to light the shockingly high prevalence of sexual violence throughout or communities  and it’s just not  good enough. I am so humbled and inspired by the raw honesty and shameless bravery of survivors of sexual assault coming forward and sharing their own stories. You have offered hope and support to so many others who have felt shamed and isolated by their own experiences. But we shouldn’t have to share our stories for people to take this seriously! Or to recognise that sexual violence Affects. Us. All! Instead of expecting survivors to share their stories, we as a society should be demanding that people who sexually harm others recognise that their behaviour is harmful, and encourage others to change.   Rape and sexual abuse in our communities is a much wider issue than just what we...
#MeToo – What can you do?

#MeToo – What can you do?

This week we’ve all  been watching the #metoo campaign unfold. It’s been a full on couple of weeks with news of Harvey  Weinstein’s abuse hitting the media and many brave survivours standing up and telling their stories. In response to these stories, many people have felt driven to take action, and so I’ve put together a list of some ideas of what you can do to contribute to ending the culture in which the abuse happens.   –  Fiona Educate yourself. If you’re not quite sure what all this is about, then look it up. There’s a huge amount online if you google key words like ‘rape culture’ and ‘victim blaming.’ A s a starting point, here’s a chat I had with Jessie Mulligan about #metoo specifically. Here’s a short article about consent. Here’s a quick article about rape culture. Keep yourself informed and support campaigns and initiatives in your community. We’re sending out our first ever newsletter today, you can sign up here. Check out other organisations doing great work, including Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, WellStop, TOAH-NNEST, InsideOut, Rainbow Youth, Women’s Refuge and Rape Prevention Education. Be kind to yourself. It’s very normal to feel overwhelmed or upset by the huge number of #metoo, as well as the emerging #ihave and itsme, posts. It’s OK to log out of social media. It’s OK to ask people to take a break from talking about it. It’s OK to ask for help. You can find a support service in your area here or call 0800 88 33 00. Call people up on bad behaviour. If your mate is...
Thank you to Z Energy Good in the Hood

Thank you to Z Energy Good in the Hood

We we thrilled to receive a donation of $838.59 from Z Energy Good in the Hood. Huge thanks to everyone in our community who voted for us at Z Vivian Street and congratulations to all the charities and initiatives that received funds, including our friends at Wellington Rape Crisis! We had a great time hanging out with lots of awesome community organisations the morning tea...

Good in the Hood: Vote for SAPN!

Vote for us to receive a share of $4,000 from Z Vivian Street! Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is one of the four groups being supported through Good in the Hood at Z Vivian Street. That means we’ll get a share of $4,000—but how much depends on how many votes we get. To vote for us, all you need to do is buy something from Z Vivian Street during May and you’ll be given an orange token to put in the voting box (or if you’re a Z card holder, you’ll get two votes!). So please head down to Z Vivian Street during May and vote for us! You can also support us by encouraging people you know to vote too by posting on Facebook or...

Job Opportunities with SAPN

The application process for these jobs is now closed. Demand for SAPN’s programmes is growing and we’re excited to be recruiting for three positions: Programme Co-ordinator, Educator (fixed term), Educator (casual contract) Check out our Job Vacancies page for more information....

Specialist sexual violence service supports calls from youth for consent education in schools

Specialist sexual violence prevention organisation, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network supports the calls from secondary school students for compulsory consent education in schools. Widely publicized incidents in Wellington schools over the last week have prompted calls from secondary school students for compulsory consent education. Wellington secondary school students led a march to parliament last week to demand the education and a petition has been launched on online campaign platform, Action Station. “We’ve heard what the young people are saying and we absolutely support their demand. It is essential that we teach young people about consent and healthy relationships. Who knows better what young people need than young people themselves?” says Sexual Abuse Prevention Network General Manager, Fiona McNamara. Sexual Abuse Prevention Network specialises in providing education to young people that teaches young people to recognise the signs of abusive relationships and promotes healthy relationships and consent. SAPN delivers several well developed courses in the Wellington region, including their “Who are You?” programme and ACC’s “Mates and Dates” programme. However, the organisation says that its capacity to be delivering in all schools is currently stretched due to insecure resourcing, and that other specialist providers throughout the country are in the same position. “The government needs to make consent education a priority and fund the delivery of effective specialist programmes accordingly” says McNamara. All young people would benefit from access to education about healthy relationships. “We need programmes to be in every year level in every school. It is important that students receive this education each year at school. We are talking about cultural overhaul – this is not a quick fix...
Recent incidents at Wellington College and St Patrick’s Silverstream

Recent incidents at Wellington College and St Patrick’s Silverstream

SAPN was disappointed to hear about the conversations within a private Facebook group of senior Wellington College students. It is never okay to engage in sexual activity with an intoxicated person, and any such contact is illegal. Moreover, the idea of “taking advantage” of someone defies the definition of consent. Likewise, it is disturbing to read reports of younger students at St. Patrick’s College Silverstream making intimate visual recordings of female staff members. It’s clear that young men in New Zealand are being exposed to extremely problematic attitudes towards women, and that these attitudes are translating into harmful actions. SAPN hopes that we can broaden the conversation and use these events to encourage change – both within these schools, and in wider society. There has been a strong focus on the individuals who made the various comments – but it is important to recognize the culture around these individuals that allows them to think that their behaviour is acceptable. Whether it’s the students who ‘liked’ the posts, or the many who saw the comments and said nothing – we need to recognize that these are not one-off, isolated incidents. Likewise, the question about whether these attitudes have transferred into actions supports the myth that it only ‘counts’ as sexual violence when a physical interaction has occurred. A culture that allows young men to communicate in this way, without any intervention, provides a pathway to extreme physical sexual violence. Excuses like “boys will be boys” only create space for these harmful attitudes to thrive. Teenage boys laughing about sexual relations with intoxicated young women on Facebook is all too familiar...

SAPN wins a Grace Gives Grant!

We are excited to announce that SAPN has won a $1,000.00 grant from Grace Gives! Grace Gives is an initiative from Grace Removals, who generously support community organisations throughout New Zealand who: Focus on communities which are excluded or disadvantaged Create relationships and environments where people are empowered to help themselves & each other Actively involve people and communities Build inclusiveness Involve approaches that are likely to bring about solutions to complex problems We are incredibly grateful to everyone who voted for us to receive this grant, which will we use for professional development contributing to the advancement of our staffs cultural knowledge, allowing us to build skills for cross-cultural work that serves Māori in a positive way; ultimately deepening the organisations understanding of the relationship between colonisation and sexual violence. We would like to work towards using Māori models and approaches in our work but first need to develop the understandings and skills within our team to facilitate these with integrity. Congratulations to all the other organisations who received this funding, and thank you, Grace Gives! For more information on this fund, you can have a look at the Grace Gives website...

Vote for SAPN!

We need your votes to win a $1000 community grant from Grace Gives. A generous initiative from Grace Removals. Click here to vote now. It really does take just a few seconds. We’d hugely appreciate you circulating it around your networks too. If we are successful, this grant will contribute to time and professional development towards advancing the cultural knowledge of our staff, in order to deepen our understanding of the relationship between colonisation and sexual violence, and to build necessary skills for cross-cultural work that serves Māori in a positive way. We would like to work towards using Māori models and approaches in our work but first need to develop the understandings and skills within our team to facilitate these with...