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March and Rally to raise awareness on rape culture & consent

Rape Crisis Dunedin to hold March and Rally to raise awareness about rape culture and consent

Every year, Rape Crisis Dunedin organises an awareness-raising event in the Dunedin community. In past years (2011-2013) it organised the Slutwalk march and rally. This year, the focus is on raising awareness about enthusiastic consent. The event is called Freely and Willingly, because consent for sexual activities must be free and willing, not coerced.

Freely and Willingly is set to take place on Saturday, October the 11th at 1pm.

‘We are really excited about the March and rally because rape culture is rife in New Zealand,’ said Dianne Smith, Support Worker and one of the organisers of Freely and Willingly. ‘When we talk about rape culture, we’re referring to widespread misconceptions about what rape is, and how it happens, and a culture that implicitly tolerates and condones rape. Part of this is the pervasive lack of understanding of what consent means. There is often an assumption that unless a woman screamed and fought off her attacker, then she consented. We want to dispel this myth.’

‘People are starting to talk about rape culture more since we heard the news of the West Auckland teenage boys’ rape club called “Roastbusters”. But not enough has been done to address the problem. We want to keep the discussion alive. When people think that sexual coercion is okay, it makes it easier to blame survivors and excuse perpetrators of rape. This enables perpetrators to operate with limited consequences, and robs survivors of justice.’

‘We want to get the word out about what consent really means, and what kinds of behaviour are not okay.’

The march will start at 1pm in the Octagon, arriving at the Museum Reserve at 1.30pm for speeches and performances. This is a family-friendly event and everyone is welcome. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch.

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