PRESS RELEASE: FRIDAY 01 APRIL 2022 - You Can Be the Difference!

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, around the world. And if you’re out around Christchurch this month, you might spot one of the posters for Aviva’s new campaign, “You Can Be the Difference!”

 

The black and white posters, like the one opposite, have messages such as:

I could tell she was asking for it…. to stop, so I stepped in and told my friend to back off.

 

The messages apply to people of all ages, not just younger generations. But they are especially relevant for young people, who are some of the most at risk of sexual assault. The most recent NZ Crime and Victims Survey indicated that 1 in 11 girls aged 15-19 have been sexually assaulted in the past 12 months, which is 4 times the national average! 

 

What’s more, research conducted by Aviva in 2021 on sexual harm support available for youth, indicated that more needs to be done around education. We need to do better by our youth, and prevention starts with changing perceptions of young people.

 

The campaign challenges people to be active bystanders and intervene, to take care of one-another, and stop sexual assault before it happens.  Or, to put it bluntly, see it, stop it.

 

“For sexual assault awareness month, it’s not enough to just trot out the statistics – many people will be aware that 35% women and 12% of men experience sexual assault in their lifetime (although research tells us that assaults are under-reported, particularly for men). They may well know that the conviction rates for rape in this country sit at around 10%.  

Information like that is only useful if people know that they can do something about it. Awareness without action can lead to feelings of hopelessness and a lack of faith in change. That’s why this campaign is about action,” says Jo, Client Services Manager for Aviva’s Sexual Assault Support Service (SASSC). 

 

The campaign also challenges pre-conceived notions of what “acceptable” behaviour is. Some of the other slogans include:

Our friend was all over some stranger, so we left… but we made sure our mate came with us; they were too wasted to be left alone.

They were acting all sweet, offering them a ride… but it didn’t feel right, so we stepped in and got them out of there.

 

“There’s a strong tendency in society to feel like you should mind your own business, or that something’s not our problem. Even with the best intentions, we might be guilty of it – and that’s not anyone’s fault, it’s often how we were raised and how we’re conditioned. This campaign gives people permission to go with their gut if something doesn’t look, or feel, right. Sometimes people just need that reminder that they can be the difference.” – Jo.

 

Look out for our campaign in venues across Christchurch and on social media this month. And if you would like more information, or copies of the posters to display, please contact us at [email protected] We’d love you to help us get the word out there.

You can be the difference.

Back