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Men Against Sexual Violence (MASSIVE) Holds Its Very First Community Wellness Event This Weekend In Kaikohe

Their goal is to address and begin healing the underlying trauma in the community caused by sexual violence.

This may be the first time that a community has come together in such an open manner to address one of the key social problems undermining the health and well-being of the people of New Zealand. The Ministry of Justice recently estimated that more than one in five (23%) New Zealand adults experience sexual assault in their lifetime. The Ministry of Justice also reported that almost one in three Māori adults (30%) experienced sexual assault during their lifetime.

“That’s a whole lot of pain and trauma in our community” says MASSIVE spokesperson Mike Shaw “and unless we have the courage to address this, the pain will continue and manifest in all kinds of destructive behaviours if we do not address the root cause.”

Research strongly demonstrates that physical and mental health problems resulting from sexual abuse and rape can be significant. Untreated impacts of abuse in childhood can continue to impact on survivors as adults in the form of depression, anxiety, impaired interpersonal relationships, parenting difficulties, eating difficulties, and/or drug and alcohol misuse to cope with strong feelings.

The planned event will be family friendly and easily accessible. There will be free mini hot rod rides for the kids, mega slide, merry go round, bouncy castles and lots of kai stalls to buy food from. Along with the fun vibe will be pop-ups from various agencies where people can gain access to information about where to get help, if they or someone they know has experienced sexual harm. In the main tent will be a schedule of presenters. 

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“It’s all about empowering our community” says Mike Shaw. “We are going to look at some nitty gritty topics like; how to keep your kids safe, how to spot a groomer, what to do if you suspect something is going on, what’s the process for making a disclosure, where to go for help and support and things like that. And at the same time if it gets too heavy you can duck out, grab a bite to eat and check on your kids on the merry go round. Then come back in and listen some more.”

The speakers will range from regular mums and dads, former gang members, kaumatua, right through to one of the country’s most recognisable police officers responsible for investigating sexual assaults and child exploitation.

MASSIVE has been around since 2014, quietly educating men. Mike says, “It’s the first time we have tried something like this. We’ve got no funding. Real grass roots. I think the community is ready for it. We hope the healing will start flow and then maybe we can take the concept to other Northland towns and then the whole country.”

The event begins on Saturday at 10:00 am and runs through to 4:00 pm and finishes on Sunday morning with an interdenominational church service organised by the Community Chaplain.

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