Survivor’s voice is louder
SPEAKING up for survivors of sexual violence and teaching thousands of schoolchildren the importance of consent is what Dr Kim McGregor has dedicated her life to.
Now the executive director of Grey Lynn’s Rape Prevention Education centre has been formally recognised for more than 30 years championing the cause.
McGregor has been made a Companion of The Queen’s Service Order in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the prevention of sexual violence.
She says it is a tribute to the dedicated workers at all sexual violence services, many who work with little or no funding and face closure every day.
The centre has worked at a national level to support survivors for the last nine years.
One in four women and one in eight men are affected by sexual violence.
High-profile incidents such as the Louise Nicholas case and the ‘‘Roastbusters’’ saga have shown there is still huge work to do, the 56-year-old says.
McGregor says she marched with a thousand people after the Nicholas case came to light. Many women said they would never report sexual assaults because of the treatment Nicholas received.
‘‘What was so heartening was there were so many men at the march.
‘‘We really have to include men in prevention education.’’
The Westmere resident says she was sexually abused at age 11. She was depressed, self-harming and attempted suicide.
She did not seek help until her mid-20s and says it has affected her marriage and parenting.
McGregor says she then saw how big the issue is and how victims cope with the symptoms and trauma of abuse.
Rape Prevention Education workers have spent more than a decade visiting schools and teaching teens how to develop respectful sexual relationships.
‘‘Most young people don’t know the laws of consent and they don’t know how to negotiate consent, or even that they should,’’ McGregor says.
McGregor has spoken at antirape marches for 30 years and has no plans of stopping.
She says staying positive is important - she can see an end to sexual violence in the future.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced in the 2014 Budget that $10.4 million would be allocated over the next two years for specialist sexual violence services.
But New Zealand must invest in further education for at least 40 years to have any chance of ending it, McGregor says.
Parents and role models also need to help educate youth to keep them safe, she says.
Speaking out: Kim McGregor, head of Grey Lynn-based Rape Prevention Education, has been made a Companion of The Queen’s Service Order in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.