"I can't believe this happened in New Zealand" is a comment I have heard so much these past weeks.

Beautiful young Grace's death is horrific. Her life cut short during an adventure of a lifetime is terrible.

But the fact it happened in our beautiful country shouldn't be that shocking. We aren't different to the rest of the world and the horrors in it, especially against women.


Our statistics prove it. Yes we are a small country, it makes us feel safe and our shores are beautiful, but don't let that beauty fool you. There is a huge culture of violence against women in this country.

It's a problem, just like everywhere else. We aren't perfect. The difference between this case and the hundreds of other cases that happen to our people in our country daily is media attention. Grace was a visitor to New Zealand and white which made for great "news".

I feel gross typing this, that that is why it made great "news". It caused outage, but we should already be feeling outrage as violence against women is happening everyday and in many different forms right here in New Zealand. These stories need to be told more as outrage creates action.

Hundreds turn out to march up Queen Street in remembrance of Grace Millane. Photo / Dean Purcell
Hundreds turn out to march up Queen Street in remembrance of Grace Millane. Photo / Dean Purcell

A friend said to me, "ignorance is the problem, but look at the unhappiness knowledge brings".

I for one am ready to feel the sadness of what is happening to women in our country. It makes us reevaluate thoughts and opinions we, our friends and family have on how it is acceptable to treat women.

This is something I have thought about a lot with raising two young boys. I want to raise them to be the men who don't talk about women in a derogatory manner, who treat them all with the respect and dignity they deserve.

I want them to be empowered to call out their mates if they fall into "boys' talk" in the locker room as this isn't just about what they say and do when women are present, it's what is said behind close doors and amongst their friends too.

That's the start of it, changing the way men speak and act towards women, we need to teach our boys who are our future generations of men that this isn't the "done" thing, that you can't speak differently to your mates than you would your sister, mother or girlfriends.


Not all men do this of course, but the ones that do outweigh the good by far. I know it's a huge leap from calling a woman a bitch because she didn't smile at you on the street to murdering one.

But it's this systematic behaviour of what is acceptable amongst society that breeds all of this violence. Let's take this tragedy and learn from it. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

We all need to be better and do better, slowly but surely we should be able to tackle this problem and I am starting with my sons Oscar and Hunter. As they grow we will have open and honest conversations so they have the tools to think differently, act differently and understand consent.

Then hopefully they can teach any other young men they come across of what's right and wrong too.

Because at the end of the day it really is that simple, what is right and what is wrong.

• Anna Reeve, a mum, model, blogger and Insta-famous, shares reflections on her life in the Bay