Rape culture action moved after Wellington College boys threaten protesters

The protest is planned to go from parliament to Civic Square
FAIRFAX NZ

The protest is planned to go from parliament to Civic Square

Girls from three Wellington secondary schools are planning to protest rape culture in the wake of a scandal at Wellington College involving rape 'jokes'. 

The protest also follows the suspension of four year 9 students earlier in the week at St Patrick's College Silverstream in Upper Hutt following an incident of sexual harassment towards two female staff members, which involved inappropriate filming of the women.

Protest organiser Mia Faiumu, a year 13 student at Wellington East Girls' College, said the protest - which so far has 250 interested attendees - was originally planned to take place outside Wellington College but was moved in the interests of safety after she said students online threatened "jokingly" to run over protesters.

She said  there was a need to open up a bigger conversation around consent and the normalisation of rape culture. 

READ MORE:
Editorial: Schools need to show young males that rape "jokes" are intolerable
Year 9s at St Patrick's Silverstream suspended over sexual harassment of staff
* Investigation launched over rape comments made by Wellington College students
I'm a rape survivor, and my teen boys are blind to rape culture

Wellington College is investigating after students made references to rape in posts on a private Facebook page, which had been circulating since Sunday. 

One said simply "f... women", while another said "If you don't take advantage of a drunk girl, you're not a true Wc [Wellington College] boy."

Faiumu said the protest - organised by students from her school, Wellington Girls' College and Wellington High School - was using the media interest in the Wellington College incident, to highlight "the wider issue of the normalisation of rape culture in secondary schools".

The action was was meant to foster a larger discussion around the need for compulsory education on consent, especially in boys' schools.

Faiumu said boys who partook in rape culture needed to acknowledge there would be consequences.

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* The protest is planned to begin at 4.30pm on Monday at Parliament and will then head to Civic Square. 

WELLINGTON COLLEGE STATEMENT

"We realise there is a high level of interest in what has happened at Wellington College and we are concerned to address the issues that have led to the behaviour.  As we have said consistently, what has happened is deplorable, appalling and not part of our school's values," a statement released by the school late Thursday read.

"We are working through a process with the boys involved and equally important with our wider school community. We have met ... with Sexual Abuse Prevention to continue to strengthen our programmes designed to educate the boys about healthy relationships and consent. 

"The Sexual Abuse Prevention team have been working in our school for more than a year. Their expertise and knowledge is a valuable part of our health education programme and we intend to build on this in the coming year.

"We understand and respect people's right to express their strongly held points of view. Our primary focus is on taking the events of the past few days, learning from them and continuing to support our boys to grow into responsible strong boys."

 - Stuff

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