Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Website a 'call to arms' for young women to rise against sexism

Kushali Tuinder, Sarah Letford and Eddy Royal at the launch of Em at Auckland's Q Theatre. Photo / Tess Nichol
Kushali Tuinder, Sarah Letford and Eddy Royal at the launch of Em at Auckland's Q Theatre. Photo / Tess Nichol

A website launched today is a "call to arms" for young women to stand up for themselves and each other against sexism and sexual violence.

Designed in collaboration with a group of young Auckland women, Em is the brainchild of survivor support organisation HELP and the creative agency Curative.

Em helps clue young women up on how to recognise sexual harm, from unwanted attention or comments right through to sexual assault and rape.

The website also suggests how to look out for yourself and your friends' wellbeing and ways to be supportive when someone you know is experiencing sexual harm.

Em aims to help young women like Auckland teenagers Kushali Tuinder and Sarah Letford, who have been workshopping with the Em team since September last year.

The friends, Year 12 students at a co-ed Auckland high school, said they wanted their peers to understand that sexism was still a problem in New Zealand.

"We think that it's hard for people in general, not just women, to see that feminism is still important today," Sarah said.

"There are so many little things [like] about porn and grooming that I never really realised were feminist issues [until recently]."

Young women needed to "feel like they can do anything and they are strong and they have value", Kushali said.

"To empower other people is to be a stable support for them and be there when they're going through hard times."

Em was a good resource to help young women empower themselves and others, she said, because it was available 24/7 and offered non-judgmental advice which people could seek out anonymously.

Statistics show one in three Kiwi girls under 16 will be sexually abused and in 90 per cent of cases the abuser is known to them, Curative's Eddy Royal told the Herald.

In the face of those statistics, Em was "a call to arms by banding together and supporting one another", Ms Royal said.

"What I would love to hear is that young women feel really supported and we can start to change our victim blaming culture and have some empathy for one another.

"My hope is that we can reverse that one in three."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 26 Oct 2016 05:03:54 Processing Time: 280ms