When, one after another, women MPs stood in Parliament recently to disclose they were survivors of sexual violence, some people insisted they must have been exaggerating to make a political point. But the cold, hard reality is that these women represent the statistical norm for women and girls in New Zealand, who are amongst the worst off in the world when it comes to sexual violence. Last year New Zealand was ranked below only sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe when it comes to rates of sexual violence.
That’s why we are calling on the Government to fully fund specialist sexual violence support services.
Please sign the petition now, we'll be delivering it on Wednesday. 8000 people have already signed, we need to get that number up to 15,000 by Wednesday.
If you are in Wellington, please join us on Wednesday for the petition delivery.
One in three women in New Zealand experience physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime. Three in four teenage girls in New Zealand reported at least one incident of unwanted sexual activity. Police are called to a family violence situation in our country every seven minutes.
There is no reason to be surprised therefore, though every reason to be appalled, that of the 40 women MPs in New Zealand more than six of them have survived sexual violence.
And that is why we started this campaign, to stand in solidarity with all survivors of sexual violence in our country and call on John Key to put his money where his mouth is: If he claims to stand with the survivors rather than the perpetrators of sexual violence, then he must fully fund the sector that provides essential support to survivors. A sector which this Government has systematically defunded.
This Wednesday, 25 November, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is the first of sixteen days of action, around the world, calling governments to take better steps to prevent violence against women, and to better support women and girls who survive sexual and other violence. It is the perfect day on which to deliver our message to to Parliament.
Sexual violence is impossible to ignore for too many women and girls in New Zealand, and we want to make this petition impossible to ignore - which means getting a lot more signatures on it before Wednesday, and then delivering it in a creative way, which will give the media something to report on. Here’s how you can help:
Like many other people I was deeply moved at the sight of female MPs being shut down in Parliament as they stood to speak up as survivors of sexual violence. Whatever you made of the politics of the exchange, there was something profoundly disturbing about survivors being denied the right to speak, one after the other. For some of us, that moment had echoes of other painful memories.
But now we can create a new memory - of thousands of New Zealanders coming together to say ‘It’s not okay’ to silence survivors of sexual violence, and to call for real support to the people and organisations who work day and night to support survivors and to prevent sexual violence.
Thank you for being one of them,
NB: This topic is a harrowing one. If you or someone you know could benefit from some support, please consider finding a sexual violence support service in your area.
 'Sexual assault high in New Zealand - Lancet', Radio NZ, 14 February 2014 Women's Refuge 'Face the Facts' -www.womensrefuge.org.nz
 MPs who walked tell their story, 3news.co.nz, 11 November 2015
Monday, November 23, 2015
Posted by Suzannah B. Troy artist at 11/23/2015 07:09:00 AM