A sexual assault prevention class is coming to Papamoa tonight and seeks to empower women from 13 to 100 years old to not be afraid.

One in three women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime in New Zealand. Attackers are more likely to be someone you know and it can happen any time and anywhere.

These are scary yet real statistics but Safe For Life programme teacher Meg Cowan says the course shows women how to live without unwarranted fear.

"I hate to think of a woman leaving a course feeling fearful. They will leave feeling empowered and with the skills to keep themselves safe."

She said the course was a new approach to self-protection - giving women skills to identify and avoid sexual or physical abuse before it happened and defuse dangerous situations if need be.


"We want women to be able to see something before it occurs. It will cover domestic abuse through to a random attack," Ms Cowan said.

She said there was plenty of talk about stranger danger but often a rapist or attacker was someone known to the victim.

"What does a rapist or attacker look like? We can't identify them physically so we need to know the behaviour that sets them apart."

Women would learn how to identify behavioural patterns and techniques of potential attackers and maximise the ability to avoid danger at the earliest stage.

The Safe For Life course was about teaching women of any age to be smart when going out or dealing with a sports coach, uncle or out on a date.

Ms Cowan said the usually 6.5-hour course would be condensed into a two-hour session.

She was asked by the Papamoa It's Not OK campaign to run the course in the Tauranga suburb after well-received events in Te Puke.

Ms Cowan, a Protect-accredited trainer, said according to Rape Prevention sexual abuse statistics one in three girls was subject to an unwanted sexual experience by the age of 16. It was estimated 90 per cent of sexual violence was committed by someone known to the victim.

"The statistics are alarming. I think it's really vital for the information [in the course] to be given to Kiwi women and girls," Ms Cowan said.

Safe For Life
Where: Papamoa Library
When: Thursday April 20, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Girls under 14 need to be accompanied by an adult women
Women only