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“Aotearoa Is At A Crisis Point” Feminist Coalitions March To End Sexual Violence

From: Auckland Feminist Action and Migrant Zine Collective

Feminist coalitions across Tāmaki Makaurau are calling on elected leaders to put an end to sexual violence in Aotearoa. The coalitions on Saturday, April 10 at 2pm, will march down Queen Street to demand the immediate implementation of harm reduction systems, consent education and funding for violence interventionist services across the country.

Attendees will gather in Aotea Square and proceed the march down Queen Street following a number of speeches and performances. This includes support from Hon. Marama Davidson, the current Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence.

"We are preparing for a big turnout, especially in light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month which falls annually in April. Support for this kaupapa has been overwhelming and we are grateful for everyone who stands in solidarity with survivors," says Kathleen Lafferty from Auckland Feminist Action.

“We have one of the worst rates of sexual violence in OECD countries (UN Women). Last year, statistics showed that approximately one-quarter of all women in Aotearoa have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime. Aotearoa is at a crisis point,” says Lafferty.

The feminist groups have a list of demands for the government. This includes meeting the Crown’s obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and investing in Kaupapa Māori responses to sexual violence.

"It is crucial for the government to fund a nationwide consent campaign. We need compulsory sexual consent education in all our schools, a focus on prevention and intervention of harmful behaviors, and specialised healing services to ensure survivors needs are truly met," says Lafferty.

Organisers also emphasise the serious and pressing need to increase funding towards culturally relevant services for marginalised communities to ensure protection, safety and justice for those most vulnerable in society.

“The government has neglected the voices of Māori, Pasifika and migrant women of colour, and those in the rainbow and disabled communities for far too long. Our stories are the ones unreported in the media, we are the ones who lose our jobs after raising concerns, we are the ones the system fails constantly despite the implementation of seemingly progressive frameworks," says Helen Yeung of Migrant Zine Collective.

“We need culturally sensitive approaches and services for survivors. As migrant women of colour we are often invisiblised, excluded and sidelined in policy-level approaches due to a system founded on institutional racism, colonisation and various forms of oppression,” says Yeung.

“Sexual violence is a pervasive issue in Aotearoa. We need change so our voices are heard in the fight for gender equality,” says Lafferty.

This event is co-organised by Break the Silence NZ, Auckland Feminist Action, Auckland Youth Collective, Rape Prevention Education, Campus Feminist Collective (Auckland University), Migrant Zine Collective and Shakti Youth.

Our demands:

-Pass the original version of the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill.

-Uphold the Crown's obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and invest in Kaupapa Māori responses to sexual violence.

-Increase support for culturally relevant services for Maori, Pasifika and migrant women of colour, and the rainbow community.

-Fund a nationwide consent campaign.

-Create a reporting body and standardised sexual harm policy for all institutions and workplaces.

-Entrench sexual consent education in all our schools.

-Ensure survivors needs are met by investing in specialised prevention, intervention and healing services.

-Compulsory sexual harm prevention protocols and training across alcohol licensed establishments.

-Funding a community driven safe space in our CBD’s.

-For the Minister for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic violence to create robust accountability mechanisms so survivors and community can have oversight on the progression of our demands.

-Ensure there is legislation in place to hold accountable indecent communication by adults with a young person, specifically when an adult incites a child or young person to send them nudes.

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