Topics: Health, Rereātea - Midday News

Whanganui students clear "No means no!"

By Online News - Rereātea
  • North Island: West Coast

Consent, healthy relationships and sexual violence are not the usual topics covered at any school hall assembly.

However, Whanganui City College students were able to discuss these subjects with Miss World NZ Jessica Tyson, a survivor of sexual abuse, who has been visiting schools in her hometown as part of her Beauty with a Purpose charity project, Brave.

Tyson talked with the students about consent, healthy relationships, revenge porn and the ways they can help others and themselves if they were affected by sexual violence.

Student Lenox Eruera Fold says a highlight for him was learning about consent.

“Consent isn’t just for males, it’s for females also and if you’re asking a male for consent he has to give a big fat yes," says Fold.

“Consent is a big role in sexual activity no matter what it is, even if it’s just a kiss.”

Student Farian Te Awa says listening to the presentation was similar to a programme he’s already involved in called ManUp, which aims to empower men to overcome struggles that they may face in life.

“You just open up and don’t keep it inside. You just open up and find help," says Te Awa.

At another recent Brave presentation, Whanganui Girls College student Jessica Wood talked about the benefit of having this type of information available.

“I found it really helpful for some of the girls who might be in a situation that they’re uncomfortable with or don’t know how to get out of and they can definitely find help now and know where to go,” says Wood.

Tyson says the best part of her project is receiving feedback from students who have reached out and don't feel alone anymore.

“What’s been most rewarding is receiving messages from so many young people who are also survivors saying that my story helped them gain confidence and realise they’re not alone”.

“Starting Brave has helped me turn my own traumatic experience into a positive one by helping hundreds of young people,” says Tyson.

Upon returning home from Miss World in China in December, Tyson hopes to visit other regions in Aotearoa to share her message.