Student’s film to tackle rape culture
A Wellington High School student is going above and beyond to try to erase rape culture in the city.
Year 13 student Stella Atkinson has been inspired by recent incidents surrounding the posting of sexist comments by Wellington College students on a Facebook page.
Now she’s working on a short documentary about rape culture in Wellington to inform people of the issues around consent.
‘‘My intention is to educate people on rape culture and consent because, after the comments that were made, it was very clear that some people were lacking in education regarding the topic.’’
Atkinson is required to make a film for assessment later in the year as part of her school’s Moving Image Culture (Media Studies) class. But this documentary was born out of passion and not school requirements, she says.
She was involved in a rape culture protest at Parliament earlier this month and believes recent media attention on the issue has helped open the eyes of many.
‘‘Since the comments were made, I realised how many of these comments are actually made and pushed under the table. By sharing information on the comments, people just woke up and saw that there were lots of issues.’’
Her documentary will include interviews with protest organisers, academics from Victoria University’s sociology and social policies departments, Wellington High School staff and possibly sound bites from average Kiwis on the street.
Wellington Rape Crisis (WRC) agency manager Kyla Rayner says Atkinson’s project will ‘‘absolutely’’ raise awareness of rape culture, sexual violence and abuse.
‘‘It’s imperative that we start talking about these issues and all consider ways that we can be part of the solutions,’’ she says.
‘‘Projects like these are also incredibly important to survivors. They reaffirm that this is real, they debunk common harmful rape myths that blame survivors, and encourage survivors to reach out for support and healing.’’
Rayner says initiatives such as Atkinson’s give WRC staff hope, heartening them to continue with the agency’s day-to-day services.
‘‘When we see youth engaging with this incredibly hard issue and demanding and feeling entitled to safety and wellbeing, we know that we are absolutely making inroads in the work we are committed to.’’
Stella Atkinson, a Wellington High School year 13 student, has been inspired to make a documentary about rape culture in Wellington.