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Rape comments happen 'every single day'

Wednesday 8th March 2017

Shock and disgust, but comments from Wellington College students no surprise.


Teenage boy at computer
The two Wellington College students described having sex with intoxicated, passed-out women in their posts to a closed Facebook group.

Photo: Pixabay

Boys talking about wanting to rape drunk girls can probably be heard every day in schools around the country, young women and sex education groups say.

This follows revelations of Facebook postings by two Wellington College students who posted offensive comments about having sex with drunk unconscious girls, and that doing this was a rite of passage.

Wellington College principal Roger Moses said the school was investigating and he was "appalled and disgusted" by the posts.

Mira O'Connor, who is in year 13 at Wellington High School, said a lot of her friends have had bad experiences. "I would say it's quite common, and I don't think any of us are really surprised ... Really shocked and disappointed that they'd say this, but not surprised."

Jessica Dellabarca, 20, graduated from Wellington East Girls College in 2014. She said those kinds of comments were prevalent at parties and online. "It's not something that pops up every now and then, it is something that happens every single day."

Dellabarca said the focus should be on changing the culture that allowed boys to think the way they did was acceptable. "I think it's important not to vilify these boys who made these comments, because they're not villains, they've just been brought up in a culture that they think that's okay.

"And I think, rather than say 'oh, that's bad', we need to focus on educating them and bringing them into a system where they know that's not OK."

The Sexual Abuse Prevention Network visits all Wellington high schools, including Wellington College, to teach young people about sex, consent and respect. General manager Fiona McNamara said there needed to be more - and better - education as the boys' rape comments are alarmingly common.

"When we talk to adolescents we need to talk to them about what healthy relationships look like, McNamara said.

"So in terms of friends and family and romantic and sexual relationships ... we need to promote sexual consent and reinforce that. There has to be consent every time, and that has to be free, willing and ongoing."

- Story by Emile Donovan/RNZ News.

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