Grace Millane verdict: White Ribbon urges men to respect consent

The charity stresses the importance of consent.
The charity stresses the importance of consent. Photo credit: Supplied.

Following the Grace Millane trial, anti-domestic violence charity White Ribbon is urging the public to intervene when they know abuse is happening. 

Millane was strangled to death last year by a man she met on a dating app.

White Ribbon manager Rob McCann believes there is an issue of consent in New Zealand. 

"As a father, I am grateful the jury were able to understand the issue of consent. In my experience, there are far too many people that do not understand the concept and the need for consent to be ongoing and active."

White Ribbon says to imagine sex like having a cup of tea - you can't force another person to drink tea, people can change their mind about drinking tea, and if they fall unconscious they can't be forced to drink the tea.

"This is a really simple and effective way of teaching consent," said McCann.

White Ribbon is also urging men to step up and take action if they know their friends are domestic abusers or planning to hurt their partners. 

In 2018 White Ribbon released a video urging men to confront their peers who may be committing domestic violence or thinking about hurting their partner - by saying nothing, you are actually sending the signal that the disrespectful behaviour is okay.

"It might start off as disrespectful jokes about women while you are in a bar, that might not initially seem harmful," said McCann. 

"But the reality is that by that the disrespectful behaviour is ok and all too often that behaviour escalates.

"Following the verdict we must take action to prevent violence. That means taking real steps such as talking about consent. 

"Doing nothing is one option that is not open to the country with the highest rate of reported violence towards women."

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