From #MeToo to #WhatNext?

The #MeToo campaign has done well to raise the profile of the insidious history of sexual abuse, but Jacinda Ardern has made a good point – how to translate the initial impetus into ongoing action in New Zealand,

The Spinoff: ‘We need to say, OK, what next?’ Jacinda Ardern on the impact of #MeToo

The New Zealand prime minister has called for the energy of the #MeToo movement to be translated into action. Speaking to the Spinoff as part of a new podcast series in collaboration with the Auckland Museum, Jacinda Ardern said that the sharing of stories risk equating “to nothing in real terms” if there is no resulting change.

“What we need to do is then say, OK, well what next?” Ardern told Noelle McCarthy in the first of the podcast series Venus Envy. “You don’t want a movement, really, of women continually feeling like they need to tell stories that then equate to nothing in real terms. And so that’s the question that I’m interested in asking: what next?”

The challenge was to change the view around what was acceptable behaviour, she said.

“That to me comes back to that respect question, of how we treat one another, of conversations around consent and healthy relationships.”

These were “things we should be talking about in our schools, in safe places, where we learn and kind of our social norms, before people are entering into the workplace”.

The solutions to the issues raised in recent months needed to have both a cultural and policy dimension, she said.

“When you’ve got a country where you have such high rates of violence against women, you want to remove every barrier so a woman can make a choice, have a choice about her future. And, so long as we have women over-represented in low-paid work, or unsupported as carers, the choice is removed.”

Ardern is diverting onto a largely separate issue there.

There continues to be alarming levels of abuse and violence against women, but that’s not all. It is also a major problem for children, and men also victims, both directly and indirectly.

The anti-violence, anti-abuse and anti-discrimination  messages need to be repeated over and over if New Zealand society is to become a decent society for most citizens. At the moment we are falling well short of a decent society.

And this decency needs to also become far more apparent in our discussions and debates, in Parliament, in the mainstream media and in social media.

This is not a political issue apart from needing more politicians to speak up and act. It is largely a social issue, which means all of our society should be acknowledging the problems and contributing to finding better ways of interacting and better ways of behaving towards each other.

19 Comments

  1. I hope that petty snipes at Ardern can be avoided on this thread. Yes, she is on maternity leave, but she has every right to speak on whatever she likes while largely on the political sideline.

    Sexual abuse and violence are issues that are too pervasive and important to be diverted by personal criticisms.

    • Grimm

       /  July 14, 2018

      “Petty Snipes”

      I would never stoop that low.

      After lying about not wanting the job, about being pregnant during the election, about what’s in the coalition agreement, and pretty much everything since, and then appearing in every low rent click bait publication in the land, she deserves much better.

    • sorethumb

       /  July 14, 2018

      People just need to learn the rules without a witch hunt. Men will always try their luck and bungle it. men get hurt as much as women in that process.

      • sorethumb

         /  July 14, 2018

        Men in power is another issue [alpha males] They play pokies – win some loose some. Lots of people would have seen both sides of that.

    • Corky

       /  July 14, 2018

      You won’t get any sniping from me, Pete. I’ve just done a HIIT workout and I’m low on life force….. a little like the #MeToo campaign which in my opinion was a vacuous waste of time.
      Change will only come when society changes. The problem is, at present, change is accomplished by fixing one set of wrongs while creating another.

  2. sorethumb

     /  July 14, 2018

  3. Blazer

     /  July 14, 2018

    ‘Venus Envy’ is very provocative .

  4. sorethumb

     /  July 14, 2018

    I’m picking Adern knows “sweet FA about anything”. Her popularity is purely image based – which is very human [ie shallow]. “A flibberty jibbert ” “a will of the whisp” “a [tooth paste commercial]”

  5. David

     /  July 14, 2018

    Worked in NZ for 30 years never seen an incident that would measure up as a #metoo issue, wife says the same and she manages/has managed teams of women.
    Just shut up Ardern it was a casting couch issue covered up by Hilary, Oprah, Meryl, Barrack et al.
    Kiwi women dont have to sleep with the boss to get a job, never have done and never will and its just not relevant here, we have other far more pressing social issues you could turn your mind to.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  July 14, 2018

      You obviously didn’t work in the big law firms.

      • NOEL

         /  July 14, 2018

        I wonder what enforced diversity it going to have one this?

      • David

         /  July 14, 2018

        Used them regularly, sure they were a bit excitable but no one had to snag the senior partner for a promotion

      • David

         /  July 14, 2018

        “You obviously didn’t work in the big law firms.”

        Or the Labour Party….

  6. Chuck Bird

     /  July 14, 2018

    Labour has taken part in more coverup of young people getting sexually abused. Ardern talking about sexual abuse is like the Catholic church doing so while helping with many coverups.

    The adolescents would unlikely to have been abused if the out of control drinking had not been allowed at the Labour Youth Camp. Why have the police not taken action against some in the Labour Party over the underage drinking?

    Ardern is a hypocrite over the Labour Camp underage drinking and sexual abuse.

    • Blazer

       /  July 14, 2018

      complete load of rubbish.Poor even by your low standards Bird.

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 14, 2018

    I suspect that anyone who thinks there is a simple answer doesn’t understand the problem.