It's your business to stop sexual violence this summer

22 December 2014

What would you do if you saw a drunk young person clearly being taken advantage of by someone?

It is a situation people working in the hospitality industry see all too often. With thousands of young people about to descend on Gisborne for the annual Rhythm and Vines festival that situation is likely to happen and Tairawhiti District Health are doing something about it. 

The best way to stop sexual violence is to step up and intervene, says TDH’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Advisor Terri Te Kani. “Tairawhiti is famous for its manaakitanga. We are the people of Tairawhiti – the tangata whenua and it is our responsibility to be the best possible hosts. We want to make sure that people who visit Tairawhiti this summer leave with good memories— no regrets. If they have been subjected to violence including sexual violence or coercion that will not be the case.”

“People working where alcohol is drunk are in an ideal position to play a positive role in sexual violence prevention. However it isn’t always easy to know what to do when you spot a potentially unsafe situation. Earlier this month TDH ran a “Festival Hosts – Ethical Bystander” training. This is a practical skills-based workshop that focuses on helping staff to recognise unsafe situations and how to take action safely. In other words how to be an ethical bystander.”

A majority of the RnV/BW and community attended the training “It is a credit to the festival organisers that they have recognised that this is a problem in their industry and that there is a very practical way they can make a difference and ensure the safety of their guests.’

The workshop focused on alcohol, sexual and drug safety and promoting people to take action when they see someone being taken sexually or socially advantage of.

Terri Te Kani and her health fairies will visit the BW Campgrounds and Rhythm and Vines festival site handing out condoms, sunscreen and clinic referrals as well as encouraging staff in their ethical bystander role.