• Better sex education in schools
    1 in 3 girls experience sexual assault before the age of 16. The same goes for 1 in 7 of boys. Many of us teenagers, still in high school, have experienced sexual harassment, sometimes within school environments. We're scared, we assume that this will be a part of our lives, and it doesn't come as a surprise when we're catcalled or people make jokes about rape. We don't want to live in a world where rape culture is normal anymore. People protesting rape culture outside parliament in Wellington last Monday called for better education of consent and sex education in schools. Hekia Parata responded to this in a recent RadioNZ article, saying that they are ruling out introducing compulsory education around sexual consent in high schools and "the subject is best addressed in a family setting." We think this is unacceptable, and that the chance of someone missing the vital lesson of consent is too high with this approach. In light of recent events at Wellington schools, and the general rape culture that is ingrained in our society, we believe as young people that a change needs to be made now. We believe addressing the issue in schools is an important first step. These are issues that LGBTQI+ people are often excluded from. However, they are heavily affected by rape culture and so we think it is important to include them in how these issues are addressed. The article with Hekia Parata's statment: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/326678/wellington-college-students-suspended-for-rape-comments An article on the protest outside parliament: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/326507/'we-will-not-put-up-with-rape-culture-any-longer' An informative video about Mates and Dates: http://www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/videos/index.htm?mediaID=WPC139081
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    Created by Lauren Jack Picture
  • Save Shakti Wellington Refuge
    Shakti Wellington opened a refuge in 2014 after the murders of two migrant women in Wellington due to domestic violence - Sarwan Lata Singh and Mei Fan. We knew then, as much as we know now, that those women should have had access to refuge services that understood their cultural contexts. They had a right to access life-saving culturally appropriate support services. We have been advocating and lobbying for government funding for the Wellington Shakti refuge for over 5 years, but there have been major barriers. For Shakti, which has been at the forefront of striving for equality and equity for migrant and refugee women in New Zealand, the refusal to consider this specialist need by the government is totally unacceptable. We have hence begun the public campaign for funding to Save Shakti Wellington Refuge. This is a quote from Wendy Vyas. Shakti’s National Advocacy Coordinator on her experience at a mainstream women’s refuge: “As an Indian this whole concept of “refuge” was very daunting for me. I was at no point explained what was going to happen but was told that I am safe. I did feel safe, but not understood. During this time my family got involved and they wanted me to reconcile. I did speak to the staff at the refuge and she informed me that I can always say no. She was right, however, I felt she had no understanding of anything I am speaking – my culture and Asian values.” This is an extract from a letter addressed to Brendan Boyle (CEO of MSD) and Anne Tolley (Minister of Social Development). Migrant and refugee women deserve better. We deserve to be resourced adequately. We have a right to access culturally appropriate services. #NoEqualityWithoutDiversity #SaveShaktiWellingtonRefuge
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    Created by Shakti Youth
  • Camp Purple Toilet Access Initiative
    From 13 to 17 January, 57 children with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic autoimmune diseases of the digestive tract, attended Camp Purple Live at El Rancho Camp in Waikanae. The camp was organised by Crohns and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust, a whose mission is to support those with Crohns Disease and ulcerative colitis. There is no cure for these diseases which usually require potent chronic immunosuppressive medications and often multiple surgeries. NZ has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in the world and they are diseases that often strike in childhood, causing symptoms that no one likes to talk about: abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bleeding. Imagine being on a school trip and having to stop five times to have an urgent bowel motion. Imagine pleading to use the employee restroom in a shop and having to explain why. Imagine being told that you will need to search for a public rest room somewhere else. Imagine being 12 years old and having an accident in the middle of the city. On the second day of camp the children visited Parliament in downtown Wellington. Many had to stop along the way to use the restroom. On their tour they asked the tour guide how to go about getting the House of Representatives to enact a law similar to one known as “Ally’s Law” in the United States. Ally’s Law is named after Ally Bain, a 14 year old girl with Crohn’s disease. Ally was denied access to the employee toilet by a store manager in Chicago, resulting in an embarrassing public accident. Ally fought for a law in the State of Illinois and was successful. Ally’s law guarantees access to employee toilets to people whose conditions require the urgent use of a toilet such as Crohn’s disease, pregnancy, and those with ostomy bags. There are now similar laws in 15 other States. Coincidentally, the Parliament tour guide had Crohn’s Disease himself. He explained to the children the legislative process. Immediately on her return to camp, with the help of one of the volunteers, Nicole Thornton, a 12 year old girl with Crohn’s disease wrote a petition. It requests that the House of Representatives enact a law similar to Ally’s Law in NZ. It was signed by all 57 campers, along with 30 of the camp volunteers, including three doctors and four nurses. MP Trevor Mallard had agreed to table the petition in Parliament.
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    Created by Richard Stein Picture
  • Ban Suicide Videos on Facebook
    Research [1,2,3] has shown that people who are emotionally distressed and vulnerable can be influenced by the reporting of details of suicide, and as such, there can be “copycat” attempts and deaths following high-profile suicide events. This has been dubbed the “Werther Effect” [4] Facebooks own Community Standards state: “We don't allow the promotion of self-injury or suicide. We work with organizations around the world to provide assistance for people in distress. We prohibit content that promotes or encourages suicide or any other type of self-injury, including self-mutilation and eating disorders … We also remove any content that identifies victims or survivors of self-injury or suicide and targets them for attack, either seriously or humorously.” [5] Yet despite this, Facebook have recently refused to block or delete posts that link to videos of people taking their own lives. [6,7] We believe this is not only in contravention of their own Community Standards and policies but also a wholly irresponsible act. Facebook has a community responsibility to ensure the safety of its users and in allowing the publishing, and circulation of such triggering and disturbing “snuff videos” it is failing in this basic human responsibility. In short, there is no good, ethical, empirical or reasonable argument to allow the posting of such content, especially when it may promote suicide or further loss of life References: 1. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00031539.htm 2. https://publichealthwatch.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/are-copycat-suicides-real-a-new-study-says-yes-and-media-coverage-makes-it-worse/ 3. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(14)70225-1/fulltext 4. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/01/teen-copycat-suicides-are-a-real-phenomenon.html 5. https://web.facebook.com/communitystandards?_rdr#self-injury 6. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/01/video-of-suicide-doesn-t-violate-community-standards-facebook.html 7. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11777767&ref=NZH_fb
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    Created by Kyle MacDonald Picture
  • Justice for Abuse Survivors
    LATEST NEWS 1 Feb 2018 The Government has announced a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State care. Nga Morehu get their inquiry : https://www.facebook.com/TheHuiNZ/videos/742691129273284/ A chance to right historic wrongs : https://medium.com/actionstation/a-chance-to-right-historic-wrongs-e9a3c702dbde Petition delivery 6 July 2017 https://www.facebook.com/ActionStationNZ/videos/1248051378650401/ LATEST NEWS On 9 April 2017 current affairs programme The Hui screened a powerful, extremely sad and important report with four survivors of state care abuse speaking candidly about their experience and the effects on their lives. The need for an inquiry is now being demanded on all sides. You can: 1. Watch the report on The Hui: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows/2017/04/four-former-wards-of-the-sate-share-their-horrific-stories-of-abuse.html 2. Sign and share the petition for justice for child abuse survivors. #NgaMorehu (the survivors) 3. Join prominent New Zealanders and sign the open letter to demand justice: http://www.neveragain.co.nz/ Latest Media: Proper response needed to abuse in care, 10/4/17 https://www.newsroom.co.nz/@future-learning/2017/04/10/18708/responding-to-abuse-in-care?platform=hootsuite ******  More than 1000 New Zealanders told a confidential panel their experiences of sexual, physical and emotional abuse as children, while in the supposed care and protection of the State. These children were abused in foster homes, health camps, borstals, asylums and other State institutions. The Confidential Listening and Assistance Service was established by the Government to listen to the experiences of and to provide assistance to anyone who had concerns or alleged abuse or neglect whilst in State care. While this service has allowed a small percentage of those affected to receive acknowledgement and compensation, it does not address the systemic issues. In the final report of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service, Judge Henwood, who lead the Service, detailed the harrowing experiences of children who were wards of the state. The sexual, physical and emotional abuse, and neglect detailed in the report covers foster homes, institutions, asylums, health camps and borstals from the early 1940s up to 1992. [2] Judge Henwood noted in her report that the impacts of the abuse on the survivors interviewed included depression, PTSD, alcohol abuse, addictions, anxiety, panic attacks and chronic low self esteem. Some sexual abuse victims had lifelong painful physical symptoms. Other victims of beatings had difficulty learning and permanent cognitive impairment from head injuries. Some turned to violence and crime and formed allegiances with gangs. In Judge Henwood’s words, “The heartless way they had been treated turned them into perpetrators of violence themselves. The legacy remains to this day, filling New Zealand prisons.” The report heard evidence from more than 1100 people and made a series of recommendations to the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) including an independent Commission of Inquiry. MSD has refused to publicly release the recommendations made by the panel led by Judge Henwood. [3] The Human Rights Commission report on the issue was never published. [4] We do not accept that the scale, lasting damage to victims and systemic failures of the system will be addressed by an in-house MSD unit. Judge Henwood’s report (which had to be obtained by the media under the Official Information Act) identifies that the panel by no means reached everyone affected. The New Zealand public can have no faith in the commitment of the Government to the wellbeing of children in state care, that the scale of abuse, and harm caused, has been exposed and acknowledged and that the circumstances that allowed this to happen will not reoccur. Postscript:  It is hard for people to talk about child abuse but we must show courage and begin these conversations if we are to make our world safer for future generations of children. New Zealand has high rates of child abuse compared to other countries and it has affected many lives. If this subject brings up personal issues for you please seek help. Help lines: Rape Crisis – 0800 883 300 (for support after rape or sexual assault) Auckland HELP - (09) 623 1700 (24 hour confidential phone line (sexual abuse) Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions) These organisations offer information and strategies for self care for adult survivors of abuse: http://isurvive.org/ https://www.havoca.org/ For male survivors of sexual abuse: https://1in6.org/ http://survivor.org.nz/ More media: I was part of NZ’s history of abuse in state care, 21/3/17 http://thespinoff.co.nz/society/21-03-2017/i-was-part-of-nzs-history-of-abuse-in-state-care-and-im-in-no-doubt-an-inquiry-is-crucial/#.WNBx2v5vmWQ.twitter Hearing and Healing the Violence of State Care, New Zealand Association Of Psychotherapists, 11/4/17 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1704/S00053/hearing-and-healing-the-violence-of-state-care.htm References [1] http://www.radionz.co.nz/stories/201825742/justice-delayed-justice-denied RNZ [2]https://www.scribd.com/doc/275802182/Final-Report-of-the-Confidential-Listening-and-Assistance-Service-2015 [3] http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/298632/state-care-abuse-report-ignored,-judge-says [4] http://www.radionz.co.nz/stories/201825742/justice-delayed-justice-denied RNZ [5] http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/complex-trauma/effects-of-complex-trauma
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  • Safe crossing on Cobham Drive
    My older neighbours remember enjoying swimming at Evans Bay beach. And people gather there spontaneously but not safely, when dolphins - and recently even a whale - swim there. But this is not safe as at the moment because the very busy four lanes of Cobham Drive divide the people living in neighbouring communities from Evans Bay. We need a safe crossing so that: - Kids from Miramar, Maupuia and the rest of the peninsula can get to school in Kilbirnie, and the ASB sports centre, safely and under their own steam. - All people living in Rongotai, Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay and Melrose can again enjoy and look after their Evans' Bay waterfront, - Maybe our kids will be able to swim there one day - People in neighbouring areas can get to the peninsula and its new regional park safely on foot and by bike. Please help us get to 100 signatures so that we can ask our local city councillors to prioritise this.
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    Created by Kirsten Windelov