Wellington College student consequences

The two Wellington College students who triggered a social media scandal that spread through mainstream media and resulted in a protest at Parliament this week have had the consequences of their actions publicised.

The comment that started it all: If you don’t take advantage of a drunk girl, you’re not a Wc boy”

Newshub: Wellington College students stood down over rape comments

Wellington College has stood down two students for five days as a result of comments they made about rape, and the unnamed students have issued apologies.

The school’s board of trustees made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

These are the consequences issued to the two students:

  • Both students will be stood down for a period of five days.
  • School leadership responsibilities have been withdrawn.
  • Neither student will be allowed to represent the school in any sporting or cultural activities for an agreed period of time.
  • Both students have made personal apologies and will undertake community work over the next months.
  • Both students will undertake education about consent and healthy relationships.

“We have been unequivocal with these students and the rest of the school that the views expressed online last week have no place in our school or our community,” the board said in a statement.

“The school will continue to strengthen our existing education programmes on healthy relationships and consent. These have been in place for more than a year but we know we can do better. We are also going to be working with our parent community because it is clear that everyone has an important part to play in keeping everyone safe.”

As both boys are under the age of 18, some details are being withheld.

The unnamed boys both issued apologies:

“It is a really destructive attitude that leads to these sort of comments and I don’t want others to make the same mistake as me because it hurts lots of people and it is not OK under any circumstances to write and say what I did, or to joke about it,” one of the boys said.

The other wrote: “What I said was completely out of line and I deeply regret saying it”.

The attention these two boys have had to deal with is also a major consequence, as will the stigma they will carry for some time.

This may seem disproportionate given that they are probably unlucky to have been outed – stupid comments are often made  – but girls who are raped while under the influence of alcohol often suffer disproportionately to other girls who drink and get away with it unscathed.

But if it takes a media furore to raise attention and force these issues to be exposed and dealt with then so be it.

It is for the greater good if disrespectful and abusive behaviour is reduced and  responsibility amongst teenagers improves.

 

Rape culture protest

 

After the Wellington College issue erupted last week when boys were exposed making claims or expressing false bravado about it being a thing to have sex with drunk girls, a protest was organised to be held outside the boys’ school.

That reaction was misguided, targeting a single school and singling out one incident would have likely inflamed the situation rather than help it.

A more reasonable and sensible protest was organised and it was held today outside Parliament.

RNZ: Hundreds join protest against rape culture in NZ

Hundreds of people have gathered outside Parliament to protest against rape culture and call for better sex and consent education in secondary schools.

Not a huge turnout but a good number to make a strong statement.

Poor weather in the capital did not keep people at bay, with men and women of all ages – including at least 100 secondary school students – turning out.

On the lawn outside Parliament, Wellington High School student Norma McLean told the crowd she did not want to live in fear any longer.

“Today we send an important message to New Zealand that we will not put up with rape culture any longer… the buck stops here. I want my future to be equal to any man’s.”

Another speaker said: “It is important we teach the rights a woman has over her own body.”

Good on them for speaking up. This could be a turning point in teen attitudes towards sex, making it loud and clear that crappy and disrespectful and abusive behaviour and sexual predation and assault is not the norm and is not acceptable.

Organisers were forced to move the location of the protest, which was originally to be held outside Wellington College, when they were threatened with violence.

Much better to have the protest in a neutral location and having it at Parliament attracted attention from politicians.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women Paula Bennett said the government had heard the calls to make sure consent was included in the curriculum for sex education, which was compulsory in Year 10.

“I think it is incredibly powerful that such a big group has turned out. I want to praise [those] that are speaking out and calling out behaviour that is not acceptable at any level,” she said.

Good to see the Minister for Women take part and take note.

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A member of the group, Mia Faiumu, told RNZ’s Michael Cropp she hoped people would take away the message that joking about rape was not okay.

“It’s very harmful to people, to victims, and we hope that people take away that this isn’t an issue that should be normalised at all.

“We are calling for compulsory education within our schools on consent and we hope that is something that leads to wider discussion.”

Ms Faiumu said the protesters had received support from a number of MPs, and she hoped Ms Bennett’s promise their voices were being heard and changes were being made was true.

MPs from other parties also supported the protest.