Floyd Ormsby media coverage

Check out some of the coverage of White Ribbon Ambassador Floyd Ormsby

Floyd on AM show copy

White Ribbon Ambassador Floyd Ormsby knows all too well the effects of childhood abuse and lack of role models growing up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ormsby describes his childhood as a “nightmare”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A detective and her father, along with another brave police officers, are sharing their personal stories of family violence to highlight the importance of White Ribbon Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BFM Interview

TODAY FM with Lloyd Burr.

 

Floyd Ormsby, 63, was this year awarded the Outstanding Coaching Contribution Award by Auckland Rugby Referees Association along with being recognised by Rutherford College for outstanding coaching and volunteering.

Floyd’s journey to becoming a respectful husband the third time around, and role model to young men and women has not been an easy one. He was the youngest of four, his mother passed away when he was only three years old and he moved from household to household, suffering abuse, both physical and psychological. It was a traumatic childhood and Floyd had committed his first burglary by eight and was subsequently shipped off to a boarding school. That was both the best and worst part of his childhood. He knew where he was going to sleep and when the next hot meal would come, but Floyd was also sexually abused while at the school.

Floyd Ormsby with grandchild No 13

“I did not have any role models and my life was punctuated with abuse,” says Mr Ormsby. “My violence towards others was more psychological than physical, and my first two marriages ended badly. I wasn’t able to communicate with others, and had no self-esteem. I was angry and no one showed me how to be a parent, how to cope with emotions, or anger. I became what I was taught, an angry hard man that was abusive.”

Floyd believes the seeds of his journey towards becoming non-violent were sown when he mentored a young lad whose dad was killed in a car accident. Mentoring has been Floyd’s way of atoning for his own behaviour and started him on a journey to become a better man, and now a White Ribbon Ambassador.

“I know, that we can all play a role in violence prevention. It’s as easy as talking to your son, talking to the boys in the team you coach, or to the young men in your lives about being a good human being. And most importantly, it’s about role modelling healthy masculinity and showing young men they can be caring, kind and empathetic.

Floyd refereeing

Floyd Ormsby is now role modelling healthy masculinity and respectful relationships as a high-performance coach and referee. When Floyd starts his games as a referee, he just doesn’t bring in the front row, he talks to all the players about what he expects in a game and what he will not put up with – foul play or language, bullying or abuse. Setting those expectations and role modelling them, have helped Floyd to turn his life around.

“Now it’s time for all of us to play our part,” says Mr Ormsby, “and be role models for our young men and women.”

Notes:

  • Floyd has the full support of his wife Gail and is now a White Ribbon Ambassador promoting Respectful Relationships and Healthy Masculinity as alternatives and a protection against violence.
  • Research demonstrates that an underlying cause of family violence is connected to the rigid rules of masculinity, the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge.
  • Believing in the rigid rules of masculinity is twenty times more likely to predict committing violence than any other demographic factors like ethnicity, age or income. We need to replace the outdated ideas of what a man is supposed to be, with concepts that encourage and support healthy masculinity.
  • Too often men believe they need to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll be rejected, possibly violently, if they don’t fit in. Often being told to ‘Man Up’, is to be reminded to get back into the Man Box and act in a manner that conforms to the outdated stereotypes.
  • Phrases like ‘Boys will be Boys’ emphasize these old unhealthy stereotypes and they’re still being used today. These phrases reinforce the rigid rules of masculinity that are linked to violence against women, and the time has come for us to take back the phrase, change the narrative and promote ‘healthy masculinity’.
  • White Ribbon has free online resources that are available for the public to download and help them become a part of the solution.
  • White Ribbon has a large number of events occurring throughout Aotearoa, along with over 200 Ambassadors talking about healthy masculinity and the White Ribbon Riders traveling throughout New Zealand spreading the Kaupapa.

Zonta Say No to Violence Against Women

Zonta – Christchurch-Canterbury Club launched their #16DaysOfActivism against gender-based violence at Kate Sheppard House. The campaign aims to shine a light on the severity of the issue and – just as importantly – ways that we as a society can work to prevent it. They produced 125 handmade orange hearts to represent the New Zealand women who died as a result of domestic violence from 2009-2019.
At the event, Christchurch Girls’ High School / Te Kura o Hine Waiora students Nawwa Niyaz and Kayla Pringle spoke about the work they’ve done to expose sexual harm occurring amongst Christchurch students, and the group they’ve formed to help combat it Students Against Sexual Harm – SASH
The UN’s #OrangeTheWorld campaign occurs across the globe – with public buildings lit up in orange.
Zonta East Auckland joined the Botany Library Showcase of Community Organisations. It was a useful time to network with other organisations, and to talk with interested people about the Zonta says No Campaign.
Zonta Club of Mangawhai put together the “Stop Abuse Behind Closed Doors” and an amazing Quiz night fundraiser that helped to raise awareness.

A number of buildings across Aotearoa turned orange to support the cause

Boys become the men we teach them to be

This White Ribbon Day (November 25th), let’s prevent men’s violence towards women by focusing on teaching and role modeling ‘Healthy Masculinity’ and ‘Respectful Relationships’ for our young men.

White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann

“Boys will be boys is usually used as an excuse for poor behaviour,” says Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager.  “We need to flip the phrase on its head and change the narrative and demonstrate what boys will be boys should mean.”

“Many of the hyper masculine stereotypes hurt men as well as women. If we look at violence, not just against women, but also between men, incarceration rates, mental health struggles and suicide statistics it is obvious these perceived rules of masculinity are broken. We need to give our sons and all the boys in our lives, the tools for a healthy violence-free life, says Mr McCann.

New White Ribbon Ambassador Floyd Ormsby agrees. “As a young man I had no role models and lived with violence and abuse. That helped to create an angry young man that hurt people and destroyed relationships. We can turn that around if we can show kindness towards our young men, and demonstrate to them what a respectful relationship looks like and let them know that men can be caring, supportive, ethical, respectful, friendly, generous and awesome.”

Floyd Ormsby, 63, was this year awarded the Outstanding Coaching Contribution Award by Auckland Rugby Referees Association along with being recognised by Rutherford College for outstanding coaching and volunteering.

Floyd’s journey to becoming a respectful husband the third time around, and role model to young men and women has not been an easy one. He was the youngest of four, his mother passed away when he was only three years old and he moved from household to household, suffering abuse, both physical and psychological. It was a traumatic childhood and Floyd had committed his first burglary by eight and was subsequently shipped off to a boarding school. That was both the best and worst part of his childhood. He knew where he was going to sleep and when the next hot meal would come, but Floyd was also sexually abused while at the school.

Floyd Ormsby with grandchild No 13

“I did not have any role models and my life was punctuated with abuse,” says Mr Ormsby. “My violence towards others was more psychological than physical, and my first two marriages ended badly. I wasn’t able to communicate with others, and had no self-esteem. I was angry and no one showed me how to be a parent, how to cope with emotions, or anger. I became what I was taught, an angry hard man that was abusive.”

Floyd believes the seeds of his journey towards becoming non-violent were sown when he mentored a young lad whose dad was killed in a car accident. Mentoring has been Floyd’s way of atoning for his own behaviour and started him on a journey to become a better man, and now a White Ribbon Ambassador.

“I know, that we can all play a role in violence prevention. It’s as easy as talking to your son, talking to the boys in the team you coach, or to the young men in your lives about being a good human being. And most importantly, it’s about role modelling healthy masculinity and showing young men they can be caring, kind and empathetic.

Floyd refereeing

Floyd Ormsby is now role modelling healthy masculinity and respectful relationships as a high-performance coach and referee. When Floyd starts his games as a referee, he just doesn’t bring in the front row, he talks to all the players about what he expects in a game and what he will not put up with – foul play or language, bullying or abuse. Setting those expectations and role modelling them, have helped Floyd to turn his life around.

“Now it’s time for all of us to play our part,” says Mr Ormsby, “and be role models for our young men and women.”

 

Notes:

  • Floyd has the full support of his wife Gail and is now a White Ribbon Ambassador promoting Respectful Relationships and Healthy Masculinity as alternatives and a protection against violence.
  • Research demonstrates that an underlying cause of family violence is connected to the rigid rules of masculinity, the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge.
  • Believing in the rigid rules of masculinity is twenty times more likely to predict committing violence than any other demographic factors like ethnicity, age or income. We need to replace the outdated ideas of what a man is supposed to be, with concepts that encourage and support healthy masculinity.
  • Too often men believe they need to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll be rejected, possibly violently, if they don’t fit in. Often being told to ‘Man Up’, is to be reminded to get back into the Man Box and act in a manner that conforms to the outdated stereotypes.
  • Phrases like ‘Boys will be Boys’ emphasize these old unhealthy stereotypes and they’re still being used today. These phrases reinforce the rigid rules of masculinity that are linked to violence against women, and the time has come for us to take back the phrase, change the narrative and promote ‘healthy masculinity’.
  • White Ribbon has free online resources that are available for the public to download and help them become a part of the solution.
  • White Ribbon has a large number of events occurring throughout Aotearoa, along with over 200 Ambassadors talking about healthy masculinity and the White Ribbon Riders traveling throughout New Zealand spreading the Kaupapa.

 

 

White Ribbon Media
Nancy Blackler 0272425318 nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz
Rob McCann 0212122953 rob@whiteribbon.org.nz
White Ribbon Graphics can be downloaded from here
More detailed information on this year’s campaign can be found here

Boys become the men we teach them to be

This White Ribbon Day (November 25th), let’s prevent men’s violence towards women by focusing on teaching and role modeling ‘Healthy Masculinity’ and ‘Respectful Relationships’ for our young men.

White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann

“Boys will be boys is usually used as an excuse for poor behaviour,” says Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager.  “We need to flip the phrase on its head and change the narrative and demonstrate what boys will be boys should mean.”

“Many of the hyper masculine stereotypes hurt men as well as women. If we look at violence, not just against women, but also between men, incarceration rates, mental health struggles and suicide statistics it is obvious these perceived rules of masculinity are broken. We need to give our sons and all the boys in our lives, the tools for a healthy violence-free life, says Mr McCann.

New White Ribbon Ambassador Floyd Ormsby agrees. “As a young man I had no role models and lived with violence and abuse. That helped to create an angry young man that hurt people and destroyed relationships. We can turn that around if we can show kindness towards our young men, and demonstrate to them what a respectful relationship looks like and let them know that men can be caring, supportive, ethical, respectful, friendly, generous and awesome.”

Floyd Ormsby, 63, was this year awarded the Outstanding Coaching Contribution Award by Auckland Rugby Referees Association along with being recognised by Rutherford College for outstanding coaching and volunteering.

Floyd’s journey to becoming a respectful husband the third time around, and role model to young men and women has not been an easy one. He was the youngest of four, his mother passed away when he was only three years old and he moved from household to household, suffering abuse, both physical and psychological. It was a traumatic childhood and Floyd had committed his first burglary by eight and was subsequently shipped off to a boarding school. That was both the best and worst part of his childhood. He knew where he was going to sleep and when the next hot meal would come, but Floyd was also sexually abused while at the school.

Floyd Ormsby with grandchild No 13

“I did not have any role models and my life was punctuated with abuse,” says Mr Ormsby. “My violence towards others was more psychological than physical, and my first two marriages ended badly. I wasn’t able to communicate with others, and had no self-esteem. I was angry and no one showed me how to be a parent, how to cope with emotions, or anger. I became what I was taught, an angry hard man that was abusive.”

Floyd believes the seeds of his journey towards becoming non-violent were sown when he mentored a young lad whose dad was killed in a car accident. Mentoring has been Floyd’s way of atoning for his own behaviour and started him on a journey to become a better man, and now a White Ribbon Ambassador.

“I know, that we can all play a role in violence prevention. It’s as easy as talking to your son, talking to the boys in the team you coach, or to the young men in your lives about being a good human being. And most importantly, it’s about role modelling healthy masculinity and showing young men they can be caring, kind and empathetic.

Floyd refereeing

Floyd Ormsby is now role modelling healthy masculinity and respectful relationships as a high-performance coach and referee. When Floyd starts his games as a referee, he just doesn’t bring in the front row, he talks to all the players about what he expects in a game and what he will not put up with – foul play or language, bullying or abuse. Setting those expectations and role modelling them, have helped Floyd to turn his life around.

“Now it’s time for all of us to play our part,” says Mr Ormsby, “and be role models for our young men and women.”

 

Notes:

Floyd has the full support of his wife Gail and is now a White Ribbon Ambassador promoting Respectful Relationships and Healthy Masculinity as alternatives and a protection against violence.

Research demonstrates that an underlying cause of family violence is connected to the rigid rules of masculinity, the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge.

Believing in the rigid rules of masculinity is twenty times more likely to predict committing violence than any other demographic factors like ethnicity, age or income. We need to replace the outdated ideas of what a man is supposed to be, with concepts that encourage and support healthy masculinity.

Too often men believe they need to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll be rejected, possibly violently, if they don’t fit in. Often being told to ‘Man Up’, is to be reminded to get back into the Man Box and act in a manner that conforms to the outdated stereotypes.

Phrases like ‘Boys will be Boys’ emphasize these old unhealthy stereotypes and they’re still being used today. These phrases reinforce the rigid rules of masculinity that are linked to violence against women, and the time has come for us to take back the phrase, change the narrative and promote ‘healthy masculinity’.

White Ribbon has free online resources that are available for the public to download and help them become a part of the solution.

White Ribbon has a large number of events occurring throughout Aotearoa, along with over 200 Ambassadors talking about healthy masculinity and the White Ribbon Riders traveling throughout New Zealand spreading the Kaupapa.

 

White Ribbon riders roar into Taupō

Mayor David Trewavas (left) and White Ribbon rider Takurua Tawera share a hongi outside the council chambers.

Heard the throaty rumble of a large group of motorbikes around Taupō today? It’s the White Ribbon riders who roared into town this morning, bringing with them a positive message of hope.

November is White Ribbon Month, marking the campaign to end family violence, and this year’s theme is ‘flipping the script’ on our expectations of boys.

As part of the events during November, the White Ribbon Riders travel throughout New Zealand spreading the non-violence kaupapa and promoting respectful relationships, healthy masculinity and tackling this country’s woeful family violence record.

The group of around 20 riders spent last night on a marae at Reporoa and came through Taupō today, calling first at the Taupō District Council chambers before heading to meet the public at The Warehouse. This afternoon, they planned to travel on to Hastings and eventually, to Wellington by Friday.

Mayor David Trewavas, deputy mayor Kevin Taylor and councillor Rachel Shepherd were all at the council chambers to welcome the White Ribbon riders and show their support for their message of healthy masculinity and respectful relationships.

Mr Trewavas thanked the riders for coming to Taupō to promote the message of eliminating violence towards women and whānau and spoke of the shocking toll that family violence takes across all levels of society.

White Ribbon rider Takurua Tawera, who attended the ride with his wife and young son, responded that it was a privilege for the riders to come to Taupō and thanked the council for showing its support and for caring for the community.

“The theme [this year] is flipping the script which means that part of our responsibility is how do we get our young fellas and raise them to be be good men,” Mr Tawera said.

“Our message is about how do we tell our boys that it’s all right to cry, that it’s cool being boys, changing that script.”

He said councils had a role to play in helping address family violence by caring for their communities and the people in them.

 

 

White Ribbon Graphics can be downloaded from here
More detailed information on this year’s campaign can be found here

Lesley Elliott leaves a legacy of caring

“Lesley Elliott was tenacious, intelligent and wanted to make sure that no mother would go through her experience of losing a daughter to violence,” says Judge Peter Boshier, White Ribbon Patron.

Lesley’s daughter Sophie Elliott was murdered by former boyfriend and university tutor Clayton Weatherston in 2008. Lesley along with other violence prevention advocates created the Sophie Elliott Foundation and developed the Loves Me Not school programme to teach year 12 students about abuse and healthy relationships. The trust was wound up in 2019 with the intellectual property being passed to NZ Police, but not before she was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015.

“Lesley’s passing leaves a gap in our White Ribbon family. She met countless numbers of our volunteers and inspired many of our Ambassadors, always giving her time freely to help our men understand the complexities of non-physical or psychological violence. In the wider family violence community, she inspired and helped to educate countless young women through the Sophie Elliott Foundation, promoting healthy relationships for young women and ensuring they knew the warning signs of toxic relationships”, says Judge Boshier.

“Even while running her own charity, she was willing to become one of White Ribbon’s first female Ambassadors in 2016. She wanted to make sure a female voice was firmly embedded in our violence prevention work and she wanted to ensure young men were seen as part of the solution, not just the problem.”

Lesley believed that we needed to ensure there was positive peer pressure for young men to behave better, and speaking at a 2016 White Ribbon Ride event in Dunedin she said, ‘It’s for guys to say to their mates, ‘Look, I don’t like the way you’re treating your girlfriend.’

“She believed that many young men didn’t have suitable role models,” says Rob McCann White Ribbon Manager, “and that we needed to do everything we could to promote healthy role models that valued non-violent behaviour.”

“In 2022, many years after Lesley made those comments, our campaign is focusing on encouraging men to flip the script and reject the unhealthy and outdated ideas of what it is to be a man. We’re trying to take back the phrase ‘boys will be boys’, which is a universal excuse for poor behaviour, and promote the range of alternative positive things that boys can be; such as caring, supportive, ethical, respectful, friendly, generous and awesome.

“I know Lesley would want nothing less for the thousands of young women she spoke to, than for them to have partners or boyfriends with those kinds of qualities. As a parent myself, I know we can’t continue to roll the dice and leave it up to others to role model healthy masculinity. We need to start living it, and talking to our young men, so that the awful tragedy that occurred in the Elliott family in 2008 doesn’t happen ever again.

Lesley was a tireless advocate for change and we offer our condolences to her friends and family as they mourn the loss of a great New Zealander, who used her own experience of tragic loss to create an organisation and education programme that helped countless others.

 

 

 

 

Pet Refuge

Pet Refuge is standing in solidarity with White Ribbon against violence towards Women.

White Ribbon Day is on November 25th, this global movement aims to raise awareness about violence towards women. The people we help are predominately women and to show our support for this vital issue, we are giving a Pet Refuge “White Ribbon” to anyone who signs up to Sade Bed for Pets TM programme or donates $25 or more during the month of November. All you have to do is write Ribbon in the comments box when you donate and we will send you one!

We believe we should show our support all year round, as well as on the day. These ribbons are to hang on your pet’s collar or on your keychain or bag, anywhere where this symbol can start a conversation.

New Zealand has the highest rate of domestic violence in the OECD and sadly pets are very often caught up in this violence. We should all be talking about why this is happening. Stand with us in solidarity against violence towards women. Let’s have the conversation.

https://www.petrefuge.org.nz/

White Ribbon releases free online resources to combat family violence

Media Release
12 November 2022

 

Research demonstrates that an underlying cause of family violence is connected to the rigid rules of masculinity, the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge.

“Believing in the rigid rules of masculinity is twenty times more likely to predict committing violence than any other demographic factors like ethnicity, age or income,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “Those are astonishing, awful numbers, and it’s why we need to ensure the next generation are not indoctrinated into that unhealthy way of thinking, or what we often refer to as the ‘man box’.  We need to replace the outdated ideas of what a man is supposed to be, with concepts that encourage and support healthy masculinity.”

“Too often men believe they need to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll be rejected, possibly violently, if they don’t fit in. Often being told to ‘Man Up’, is to be reminded to get back into the Man Box and act in a manner that conforms to the outdated stereotypes.”

“Phrases like ‘Boys will be Boys’ emphasize these old unhealthy stereotypes and they’re still being used today. These phrases reinforce the rigid rules of masculinity that are linked to violence against women, and the time has come for us to take back the phrase and change the narrative.”

“We need to celebrate the good we see in our young men and flip the script. Men can and should be part of the solution to reducing Aotearoa’s horrific family violence statistics,” says Mr McCann.

To help flip the script, White Ribbon have released free resources on their website www.whiteribbon.org.nz

“There are graphics that you can share on social media to start conversations, videos that provide information, and resources such as the downloadable Toolboxes which cover a range of topics from how to raise boys who respect, to how you can call-in other men.”

“Our advice is simple,” says Mr McCann. Everyone can play a role in violence prevention. Talk to your son, or the boys in the team you coach, or at your school about being a good human and what that looks like in your daily life. Be an ally and help them make good choices by role modeling healthy masculinity.”

 

 

 

White Ribbon Media

Nancy Blackler 0272425318 nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz|
Rob McCann 0212122953 rob@whiteribbon.org.nz
White Ribbon Graphics can be downloaded from here
More detailed information on this year’s campaign can be found here

Will Smith’s poor role modeling affirms use of violence

It’s not often you’ll get to see the Oscar Winner for Best Actor hit another man without a director yelling ‘cut’ afterwards.

What we witnessed was outdated male masculinity.

Those attitudes that Will Smith let rise to the surface in an unscripted moment, are why we need a reset, not with Hollywood elite, but with men. Too often we are taught as boys that we should ‘harden up’, that we need to be ‘tough’, that ‘boys don’t cry’ and too often we think the way to deal with issues is through anger and violence.

Those messages over time, and reinforced through media, help to put men in what we sometimes refer to as the ‘man box’. That’s the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge. It’s a limitation that’s prescriptive and restrictive, where different behaviours are dismissed as being ‘not manly’. Worryingly, last year’s Gender Equality survey, run here in Aotearoa New Zealand with 1,250 participants, shows that 18% of participants (and 23% of men) agreed that showing physical or emotional weakness makes a man less of man, and 17% (21% of men) agreed that hitting out is an understandable response for a man when his wife or girlfriend tries to end a relationship. You can watch a video discussing those attitudes here.

Often a boy and a man will believe he needs to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll reject him, possibly violently, if he doesn’t fit in. Being told to ‘Man Up’ is to be reminded to get back into The Man Box.

We know that suppressing individual identities and diverse emotional responses is stressful. It’s also unhealthy as men who limit themselves by having to appear as tough and uncompromising often avoid asking for help when they most need it.

Believing in the rigid rules of masculinity are 20x more likely to predict committing violence, than any other demographic factors such as ethnicity, age or income.

Conversely, men who break out of The Man Box and choose their own masculine identity report that they’re less stressed, more satisfied with life and have happier relationships.

Will Smith’s actions provide us with an opportunity for a re-think about healthy masculinity. Where we reject the unhelpful stereotypes and unspoken rules about what it is to be a boy or man and replace them with being kind, empathetic and finding peaceful resolutions to problems.

Healthy masculinity is also about boys and men being confident in who they are without feeling pressure to be a certain type of boy/man. Boys and men can still be brave, and have muscles, be assertive, tough, love rugby, enjoy time with other men and boys, enjoy a ‘pint’ with the lads etc. But boys and men should also be free to express sad emotions, enjoy cooking, dancing, gardening and anything else that does not fit into gender stereotypes.

Healthy masculinity is treating everyone with respect and rejecting the need to use violence. In New Zealand one in three women are assaulted by their partner or ex-partner in their lifetime, so there’s a real need to take action now.

To change attitudes and behaviour is always possible. In Aotearoa we achieved that with seatbelts (if you’re old enough to remember). But even with something as straight forward as that, it took a decade for people to stop thinking the government were interfering with their ‘rights’ and accept that seatbelts would save lives. Imagine how men feel when words like ‘toxic masculinity’ are thrown around. But the sad reality is, the outdated attitudes that help drive violence, whether it is men’s violence towards other men or men’s violence towards women, are ideas that need to be consigned to our past.

We need to create a ‘call-in-culture’ that speaks to the need for change and provides concrete steps for how we can create that change. The alternative is that once in a decade we will talk about this issue when the Hollywood elite behave badly or worse, when the next fatality occurs that is driven by outdated masculinity.

Rob McCann
White Ribbon Manager

 

Compulsory Consent Education Petition

Since I was young I have been heavily involved within White Ribbon fundraisers, activities, and awareness campaigns due to my dad’s position as a White Ribbon Ambassador. Growing up alongside my father supporting White Ribbon, I learned about the values, and the policies that White Ribbon supports. As I became a teenager, however, the policy and theory became reality as I watched some of my peers struggle with gender inequality, relationship violence, and family violence. At this point, it really hit home just how incredibly important it is to work together to support positive change at a government as well as a local level.

Over the years, I’ve continued in this journey, and also branched out, getting involved in many different charities supporting people in need, and agencies to introduce policies to support this end. I’ve gotten involved in running/joining groups and activities that I see great meaning in, such as Girl Up, World Vision, Youth Council, and more, each in their own way fighting against injustice, and I believe my love for these stems from being educated on related social justice topics growing up.

Nina Adams with her petition to make sexual consent education compulsory

Last year, my school was one of many in New Zealand to have the Loves Me Not project run over the course of a day. This is an initiative to help educate year 12 students about safe and respectful relationships and during the day, each classroom has counsellors and police officers there to answer any questions students have. I found this program to be very informative and interactive, but myself and other year 12 students at the time felt that a lot of the information we were learning should have been taught to us at an earlier stage. In order to combat this, a teacher at our school set up a student-led group (Healthy Connections) that would work together to brainstorm ways we can help provide younger students of the school with the vital information that this program taught to us in different ways. 

Early this year when doing background research for Healthy Connections, I came across some articles from 2017 and learned that Sexual Consent Education wasn’t mandatory in New Zealand secondary schools. I decided to do some more research regarding the topic and found multiple articles written in outcry of this, as well as references to a protest towards parliament pushing them to resolve the issue. After asking around, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who was unaware of this. Most people in my year group that I knew thought that it was mandatory to teach this topic, as we had gone over it at my school. 

Having spoken with my peers, I know personally of young people who have been in situations that have made them feel unsafe, and where they have sometimes struggled to believe that it was okay to say no and to have their voices heard. After speaking with some friends I have at different schools around Aotearoa, I found there was a lack of awareness about the subject, as well as a lot of schools that declined to teach it. This is the main reason why I saw a need to create this petition. 

The purpose of this petition is to not only help educate people, but also to push the Government to make it mandatory for all New Zealand secondary schools to add the topic of Sexual Consent into their curriculum. After posting my petition, I had a few comments and messages from people telling me this is a topic that parents need to teach their children, not teachers. Comments like these just made me think back to my previous statement; not everyone has role models growing up that will teach them about Sexual Consent. To quote a section of the petition: “Research shows that sexual abuse towards young people is most likely to be perpetrated by a family member and that many young people will experience and/or witness family violence at home. This would indicate that the government cannot rely on family members to teach this kind of information, when they themselves may in fact be the perpetrators.”. 

From this petition, I hope to in the short-term, raise more awareness for the fact that this isn’t a topic that is taught to every student in Aotearoa; why should people be expected to practice what they’re not taught? As for long-term effects, I’m hoping that with community support, there is a chance for a real, impactful change to the education system that will benefit the future of Aotearoa.

Sign the petition now.

White Ribbon also plays a role inspiring youth leaders through their White Ribbon Youth Leadership Programme (YALP). This is a free full day workshop with speakers that help senior students to understand the drivers behind family violence, how that manifests in real life, societal pressures that create unhelpful masculinity and behaviour, and finally how to take action in your own schools. This year due to covid, the workshop will be a half day online free event on Friday 27th of May. You can register or find more information here