To: Jacinda Ardern, Labour Party Leader, and Bill English, National Party Leader

Open Letter: take action to end sexual violence in NZ

Open Letter: take action to end sexual violence in NZ

Dear Bill and Jacinda,

As leaders of the two largest political parties you hold powerful positions. We hope you use it to change New Zealand’s appalling culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence.

Creating this change relies on all of us addressing it in our everyday lives. From stopping our everday sexisim to stepping in when we witness acts of non-consent. But there are some concrete urgent actions that you can take as a leader in government:

1. Universal and best-practice sexuality education in all schools, including education on diverse sexualities and gender identities, healthy relationships and consent;

2. Ensure nation-wide coverage of culturally-appropriate and properly resourced specialist sexual violence support services to provide 24/7 early intervention following recent sexual assault and ongoing acute interventions when needed.

3. Ensure police develop and implement supportive and accessible avenues for reporting and addressing sexual abuse;

4. Pass the Domestic Violence - Victim Protection Bill to ensure workplaces support employees;

5. Ensure the justice system is sensitive to the needs of all victims of sexual abuse of all types, and conduct an inquiry into the Family Court system.

These are just a few steps you can take to actively demonstrate leadership on changing our culture which allows sexual harassment abuse and violence to proliferate. We need concrete policy commitments to ensure all girls and women in Aotearoa New Zealand are safe, healthy and able to thrive.

We hope you commit to these actions and undertake them urgently in the new Parliament.

Yours,

XXX everyday New Zealanders who want action

Why is this important?

Over the last three days you may, like us, have been overwhelmed by the #metoo conversations on social media, as woman after woman in our lives has posted the hashtag to say, ‘yes, I’ve had the experience of sexual harassment and violence’.

In fact in Aotearoa New Zealand, up to one in three girls will be subject to an unwanted sexual experience by the age of 16 years.[1]

This is the moment for the leaders of the two major parties, whoever is in Government, to commit to concrete policies to end New Zealand’s culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence.

Sign the open letter for concrete unified action on positive steps to end rape culture in New Zealand.

1 - http://rpe.co.nz/information/statistics/