Thursday, 14 April 2011

this is the front line, minister

excellent work by jacinda ardern & carol beaumont today in questioning tariana turia on the cutting of funds from self-defence programmes for girls. here's the clip (hat tip):

i can't find a transcript online yet, but basically there has been a full cut of government funding to the "girls self-defence project", which amounts to $377,000. the project has reached 77,000 girls. jacinda quoted one principal who said:

each time it has been delivered the girls self defence programme has given at least one of the girls the courage to speak out about an inappropriate and, in a number of instances, unlawful act that involves them. i truly believe that if a programme like this is cut, there will be girls who don't find the confidence to speak out about abuse that they are having to endure.

in a question from carol, we find out that this is "a course where ... evaluation results showing over 90% of the girls felt stronger, more confident, knew ways to deal with unsafe situations and feel that they can talk to safe people."

the minister's response was that the ministry wanted more money going to frontline services (with the implication that this project somehow isn't one). she also says several times that the organisation can apply to the "innovation fund", but that fund is for families not frontline services delivered through schools, minister wouldn't answer as to their chances of success.

of course this is appalling. i'm really glad that these questions have been raised and this particular cut has been highlighted. but there's something missing here - the usual something. we're teaching our girls about safety (as we need to) but we're not teaching our boys to (a) also keep themselves safe, since boys suffer from childhood sexual abuse too and (b) how to conduct safe relationships that respect consent and the personhood of the other person. i'm hoping that the girls self-defence project covers consent and boundaries as well.

basically we need all round better education on matters of sex, sexuality and relationships. and that education will require funding. it may be preventative, but there can be no better frontline funding than this.


Country Lane said...

Atr the launch of Whanau Ora in Nelson Turia berated a Family Start for reporting child abuse. When the representative pointed out that there is nothing particularly new about the Whanau Ora and that organisation like Family Styart ARE family/whanau centred, Turia said her daughter(?) worked for Family Start Turia was "appalled" to discover thst when FS identified child abuse in a family, they reported it. Go figure.

Hugh said...

i'm hoping that the girls self-defence project covers consent and boundaries as well.

I'm pretty sure that any self-defense course that teaches how to recognise abusive behaviour in another person would by definition teach how to recognise it in ourselves, too. Obviously I've never done a girl's self-defense course but I've spoken to some girls about the courses they've done and they certainly seemed to take that message from it. I suppose it couldn't hurt to make it more explicit, although it could reasonably be argued that with limited time it's more important to teach girls to defend themselves from others than vice versa.

stargazer said...

if the girls are doing self-defence, why not have the boys doing something similar, tailored for them, at the same time. i can't see the problem with it.

country lane, that sounds pretty sad. i know that we've dealt with family start at the hamilton ethnic women's centre & they've been really good.