In March, Christchurch Girls' High School students protested against sexual violence and assault.
Carrying signs with slogans such as "no more excuses, dismantle rape culture", the group was stopped by police and their principal before reaching its intended destination of Christchurch Boys' High School.
At the time, I scrolled through a few news reports on the event. Thoughts flicked between "all sounds pretty bad" and "being a teenager right now sounds horrific".
Like a lot of stories, I tucked the "bad news" away and carried on with my day.
Not long after, it was the Wellington protest against sexual violence. Much larger, that made headlines with very specific stories of sexual assault and harassment in the city's centre.
Stories of people chased in the dark, assaulted, verbally threatened and abused – none of it was good. Like the previous protest, there was collective recognition of its importance. Of the need to address issues that make spaces unsafe for women, LGBTQ and others.
Then, just last week, the decision into the conduct of a former Russell McVeagh partner was also released by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Tribunal. The Tribunal found James Gardner-Hopkins guilty of six misconduct charges relating to inappropriate sexual conduct at two Christmas functions in 2015. Its 38-page decision highlighted how Gardner-Hopkins continued to be largely in denial of his behaviour, with his recollection based on a "belief that he could not have acted in the manner described". It also looked at the power imbalance between Gardner-Hopkins and the junior lawyers who brought his misconduct to light.
The three events, though not specifically linked, stand out because they highlight different aspects of New Zealand's harmful culture around sexual violence and harassment.
All from the past six months, they are by no means an exhaustive list of sexual violence and harassment incidents covered by media. Further, they were supplemented this week by results of a sexual violence survey commissioned by Christchurch Girls' High in the wake of their March protest.
The comprehensive survey showed sexual violence and harassment was common and constant for hundreds of students. This year alone, 381 students (725 participated overall) reported 2677 incidents of sexual harassment. At the most severe end of sexual violence, more than 20 students described being raped by individuals or groups.
Notably, in trying to get at the drivers of such high levels of sexual harassment and violence, the survey touched on the particular challenge – as reported by students – around deciphering what exactly constitutes sexual harassment.
"For example, is a little cat-calling just 'good fun', or the beginning of a pipeline of abuse," the survey noted.
It's a question which really cuts to the heart of the change we're grasping at. Specifically, it delves into the overarching issue around how we tackle rape culture when not everyone understands what we're actually talking about.
How much do we let pass due to ignorance and when do we decide it's okay to speak up? What are the unintentional consequences of not calling something out when there's been harm and is it really all on me? Even harder are the barriers to actually disclosing that harm for those at the centre, and the real risk around further victimisation.
Certainly, findings in the Christchurch Girls' survey showed a lack of reporting of rape incidents meant it was possible men responsible for harassment and sexual violence had "gone on to do the same thing to other young women" secure they wouldn't be sanctioned.
Students, some of whom had never talked about what happened, did not want to be blamed or judged, or get into trouble. If you switch to the Gardner-Hopkins decision, a similar theme among the young lawyers involved around professional repercussions for reporting incidents was raised. Tellingly, one of the women involved left the legal profession entirely as a result of the misconduct while another left New Zealand. One also changed her area of practice to avoid Gardner-Hopkins altogether.
Collectively, their experiences show – even post-#MeToo – we still have so much work to do in actually identifying and addressing why people are sexually harassed and violated.
Time and time again, we expect those harmed to report, prove and even police what is going wrong. Unfortunately, that's simply perpetuating a culture where perpetrators never learn what is wrong. Until we shift that, the alarming rates of sexual violence and harassment won't change.