Educate your sons.

2/5/2021

Puna Ako

K̶e̶e̶p̶ y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶d̶a̶u̶g̶h̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶S̶a̶f̶e̶.̶

Educate your sons.

Huntly Proud

“Don’t stay out too late girls!” they say.

“You shouldn’t be on your own at night ma’am!” they say.

“Keep your daughters safe!” they say.

How many times have they chanted those words? How many of us daughters have been told that we shouldn’t be out late? How many of us sisters are constantly under home arrest while our brothers are out with their boys... How many of us aunties or mums are told, just when we are walking to our cars at night, to hold our keys in a specific way just in case.

It makes me wonder why we always get told these things.

Yes, it’s because they want us to be safe. But these messages are mostly directed to us girls and women. Not to perpetrators who would do us harm.

Women continue to be victim-blamed for the ‘incidents’ that happened to us. We are told that if we just listened to them we wouldn’t have been in such situations. This is not true.

We are not the problem and we are definitely not the cause of the problem.

The problem is lack of education.

Learning about sexual consent should take place across all schools, homes, and communities. Young adults nowadays still don’t necessarily know what consent looks like and that’s a problem.

When seeking information, teenagers are more likely to turn to their mates for sexual advice and not their parents. One reason is that it is uncomfortable. But we can’t leave it to our mates when it comes to the topic of sexual consent.

That’s why we need consent to be taught starting from the beginning. Even little kids can learn about what is safe and what is not.

We need to know how and when to be more assertive with our answers whether it is yes or no. Whether it is ‘that uncle’ or not.

There is no doubt that young women are stereotyped as people who are supposed to be accommodating and emotional people. It’s often how we are raised. While men are expected to be self-confident and aggressive. These are not helpful stereotypes.

I believe that consent should be compulsorily taught at all year levels at all schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. Luckily for us at Huntly College, we’re getting the chance to learn about this important issue in Puna Ako. In Trimester 2, it is part of our health curriculum, taught schoolwide. We need to be taking part in this important conversation and making sure young people are empowered to be authentic, to keep ourselves safe, and to ditch the stereotypes.

By ‘Ofa Fotu-Moala