'Nurture your boys': Kiwi survivor's plea to 'stop the cycle' of sexual assault by 'healing victims'

A survivor of sexual assault says women should work to "liberate men of their pain" by teaching them to feel the way women feel.

Rachel Murray is a young Christchurch mother with a powerful message to share.

On Wednesday, the 24-year-old posted a photo of her husband Jacob and young son Israel to her Instagram account, where she has more than 2700 followers.

"No baby boy is born being a perpetrator," she wrote in the caption. "All perpetrators were once victims. If we want to eliminate perpetrators, we must first heal victims."

Mrs Murray went on to discuss the #MeToo movement that has taken the world by storm in the last 18 months, with women all over the world speaking up about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. 

"This movement must create change. But our response cannot be to crush men, least we continue the cycle of pain (sic). Hate shuts down any dialogue that would further societal growth."

She said the way to stop male violence against women is to help men embrace their vulnerability and resist societal pressure to be "manly".

"We must instead liberate men of their pain, and educate them in the language of emotional health, positive self-worth, and heal the pain that comes from the lies society has fed men about who they are."

She also argued that empathy and forgiveness for those who have done wrong is essential.

"We must see perpetrators for what they are; fearful humans crippled by toxic ways of coping.

"To stop the cycle, we must love our young males, nurture them and teach them to love others and love themselves. Love is the only thing that will ever change society, hate only ever creates more victims- and victims, perpetrators."

Mrs Murray concluded with a deeply personal revelation about her own traumatic experiences.

"This is all said by me - a woman whom has been sexually assaulted by three different men in her lifetime, and who has spent the last six years in therapy to forgive. Because to change the world, we must first forgive it."

She also had a message for activists who want to end women's subjugation at the hands of men.

"Be a feminist who chooses love. Be a feminist that chooses to change the world, not hate it."

Her post struck a chord with her followers, who commented calling the statement "powerful" and "profound".

Discussions around 'toxic masculinity' and the harmful ways men are socialised have become far more commonplace since the rise of #MeToo - but not without backlash.

In January, Gillette launched a new ad campaign challenging its male customers to rethink their behaviour and attitudes toward women with the slogan 'The best a man can be'. While many praised the razor company for taking a stand on sexism, others claimed they would boycott Gillette for "demonising men".