Young people speak out against violence

From left:  Ethen Cooper, Manaaki Walker, Johny O’Donnell, Amani Waenga.

From left: Ethen Cooper, Manaaki Walker, Johny O’Donnell, Amani Waenga.

It started with one 15 year-old Nelson College student sitting on a school bus and thinking about the violence he knew of  in families.

“Sometimes, kids weren’t being disciplined, they were getting a real beating,” said Johny O’Donnell.

“I started talking about it with some people. A friend of mine’s mother is a social worker, and she put me in touch with a group of organisations that deal with family violence – the Te Rito Network.”

Johny and his mates have gone on from there to set up the SAVE Movement (Students Against Violence Everywhere) which is gathering support among students not just in the Nelson Tasman area, but also in other centres around New Zealand.SAVE at parliament

In late July, Johny, Ethen, Manaaki and Amani visited Wellington to speak out at Parliament in favour of retaining the current law on child discipline.

They also met with the Families Commission to talk about how they could  help support  the White Ribbon campaign and encourage other young men to challenge men’s violence against women.

Families Commissioner Kim Workman was impressed with the energy and commitment of the four students.

“These young guys are inspiring – they understand that if we want a violence-free New Zealand they have to actively get involved and help bring about change,” he said.

The Commission and SAVE will be working closely together to help get the white ribbon messages out to schools.

SAVE Movement

About whiteribbonnz

White Ribbon is a community led campaign to end men’s violence towards women

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