GABRIELLE S

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Rape Awareness Week

Warnings to those who may be triggered by this topic.

 

Rape culture is never an easy topic to talk about but it's such a serious issue in our society today. This past week has been Rape awareness week, a week for survivors, the uneducated and our country who aren't too familiar with how serious the rape culture is in New Zealand. I wanted to use my platform to also raise awareness for this huge issue we are facing in New Zealand. Many conversations about rape culture are not had due to lack of education and silence surrounding the topic which is devastating. Sexual abuse affects far too many, In New Zealand, 1-3 girls are sexually abused before the age of 16, 1-5 New Zealand women experience a serious sexual assault in their lives, 1-7 boys may be sexually abused by adulthood, 90% of the time the victim will be assaulted by someone they know. For those who thought Rape and sexual assault doesn't take place in New Zealand think again.

Last year a couple of my friends and family members shared their stories with me. As a friend, these stories were heartbreaking to digest and from that moment it became a priority of mine to educate myself. I was brought up with no education and only understood the term rape when I started researching for myself. I have been very naive and am aware of how much education I didn't receive when I was growing up. Late last year me and my friend Xanthe published our own zine called Hook up culture ( hookupculturezine ) where we openly spoke about issues and topics that aren't commonly talked about in our community. One of those topics was Rape culture and consent and our audience were positive towards our awareness and through our zine we were able to have many important conversations around rape culture, hook up culture and consent. I encourage you to do the same, all we received was love and support and It has felt so good to not only educate myself but share my learnt knowledge with those around me. 

We are lucky in New Zealand to have some incredible facilities and systems in place to help victims. Speaking out is a huge step and a quote that has helped me through many things is " Once you start talking about your hurt you are half way to recovery ". Whether it's starting by telling a friend, teacher, school counselor, family member to receive some understanding and support. You are brave and deserve to gain your self-worth and confidence back, you are not alone and what happened to you is not and will never be your fault!

NZ based sexual abuse resources avalible  ( to name a few )-

24/7 HELPline on 09 623 1700

survivor.org.nz ( for men )

www.police.govt.nz/victims-rape-or-sexual-assault

helpauckland.org.nz