The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations (NZUSA) and Thursdays in Black have shown their support for students from three Wellington high schools as they take their protest against rape culture to Parliament today.
The students from Wellington East Girls' College, Wellington Girls' College, and Wellington High School are taking action after comments from students at Wellington College, which condoned rape and sexual violence, surfaced online.
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One comment said "if you don't take advantage of a drunk girl, you're not a true WC [Wellington College] boy."
Another comment said "f*** women".
The comments were revealed in the same week as four students at St Patrick's College Silverstream were suspended for inappropriately filming two female staff members.
"Rape culture is pervasive in New Zealand society so we should not view these comments and actions as isolated incidents," said Thursdays in Black national co-ordinator Izzy O'Neill.
"Rather, they are representative of a larger problem, which points to a need for standardised, respectful and healthy relationships and consent education for our young people in New Zealand schools.
"For tertiary students, particularly women, it is common to experience these sorts of views through many stages of their education journey. As Wellington East Girls 2014 graduate Jessica Dellabarca said last week, 'it's not something that pops up every now and then, it is something that happens every single day'.
"It is important that we recognise that rape culture is very real. We must use this as an opportunity to challenge rape culture and purposefully identify where we should be implementing education for our young people."
NZUSA national president Jonathan Gee said they stood in solidarity with the students holding the protest.
"It is important that people speak up when they see behaviour that is unacceptable and that is what is happening today," he said.
"All too often, high school students transition into tertiary education unprepared for what to expect. This includes a lack of education about healthy relationships. We encourage schools to do more to help their students understand why we cannot accept this behaviour."
Today's protest was due to take place outside Wellington College, however, it was relocated to Parliament for a more neutral discussion. The protest is planned to begin at Parliament at 4.30pm.