Sexual abuse survivor Tamara Waugh shares her story, speaks out against NZ's prolific rates of sexual harm

  • 25/05/2021

Warning: The above video may be distressing to some viewers/listeners. 

Sexual abuse in New Zealand is prolific. According to HELP, an Auckland-based foundation to support survivors of sexual assault, one in four girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused before they reach adulthood. 

One in four girls will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 12, and one in three will be sexually abused by the time they are 16.

Tamara Waugh was one of them. She was abused as a preschooler, as well as in her teens - and into her twenties. 

Now, Waugh is sharing her inspirational journey of survival as a passionate advocate for change.

"This is only the statistics of the people who are willing to [speak up]. I would imagine it's worse than that," Waugh told The AM Show on Tuesday morning.

"When you're sexually abused at a really young age, that becomes familiar to you. That then sets your belief system up to think that it's acceptable. Growing up, for me, that was the status, that was the M.O. - that's what's acceptable for men to do to me. That's been a really challenging shift for me to make."

Watch the full story in the video above.