Young Kiwi women aim to combat sexual harm


A group of young Kiwi women are banding together and asking others to step up and talk about sexual harm.

They're doing it through a website, named Em, launched on Thursday.

It aims to combat sexual violence against young women in New Zealand through positive dialogue.

Statistics show 16 to 24-year-olds are four times more likely than any other age group to be sexually abused.

Co-founders Lucy Scott and Eddy Royal say they want the website to aid young women to be the force of change to the statistics.

"It's about stopping the victim blaming. It's about stopping the slut shaming. It's about changing the narrative around this. We are the ones that can make the difference."

Lucy says the New Zealand statistics are "drastically high" and Em creates a resource for young women to navigate through the environment.

"When someone's in crisis it's the barriers to reaching out and even connecting to your loved ones that cause the most on-going harm."

The pair says the recent online reaction to the letter written by the Stanford sexual assault victim is promising.

"The fact people are rallying around her and standing up and saying this is not okay and really creating this dialogue about what sexual harm is and how it impacts women - is really exciting."

Clinical psychologist Dr Prue Fisher agrees, and hopes Em has the ability to create the same sort of online dialogue.

"That online presence is going to be free of a lot of the peer pressure at school. It's going to be free of a lot of the really hetero-sexual forceful gender practices they're exposed to on a day to day level. It's going to be safe."

You can view the website here.


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