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Massive shout out to the wāhine toa from Wellington Girls’ College who single-handedly mobilised hundreds of Wellingtonians to protest at the steps of Parliament on Monday afternoon. The protest was aimed at bringing attention to pervasive rape culture within New Zealand high schools and how this affects how (mainly) young men interact with other people.
It’s pretty ridiculous that, even after the 2013 Roast Busters bullshit, there is no quality, consistent, and compulsory sexuality education that encompasses a holistic view of what “safe sex” is — hint: it’s not just about using contraception. Sexuality education in schools must absolutely include consent. It must also discuss healthy relationships and education about minority genders and sexualities. Students in New Zealand deserve great sexuality education that will prepare them for life, especially given that 18–24 year olds are one of the most at-risk groups to experience sexual violence.
The complete lack of quality sex education is not an isolated issue that only exists within high schools. The absence of this can be observed within student life — e.g. lad culture, *vom*. We’re creating this environment where people are able to retain multiple different theories for multiple different papers, memorise thousands of dates and write 2000 word essays — and yet, can’t afford basic respect to all of their peers.
It is up to the government to produce rules around sexuality education in schools, not just unenforceable guidelines. Closer to home, while institutions like Victoria have started to be responsive to the needs of survivors of sexual violence, more needs to be done to ensure our university is a safe place for all students