Wellington College hit the media yesterday in ways their leadership team will not be enjoying - two of their boys were posting comments encouraging rape in a Facebook group.
The similarities to Roastbusters won't be lost on anyone, but the issue of rape culture is far more common than the handful of schools who make headlines.
We have the unravelling of rape culture though folks, right here in front of us. Two Wellington College boys brag about raping drunk girls - and other boys on the page report it, immediately.
People acting as ethical bystanders - intervening to disrupt norms which support sexual violence - is the best evidence base we have for changing rape culture. That's exactly what the boys who reported this did, and I want to congratulate them, whole-heartedly, for the bravery in stepping forward and making it their business.
After Roastbusters, I asked a question about how we grew boys. Growing consent, making sure all genders know how to seek and check in with sexual partners in an ongoing way during all sexual encounters, plays an enormous role in shifting norms which make sexual violence possible. But addressing the social norms which undermine consent in more collective ways, from speaking back to jokes about rape to challenging sexist language about girls to standing up to transphobic victim blaming to stepping in if you see an unsafe situation - all of these things are critically important too.
Rape culture isn't just about the individual decisions you make in your bedroom, or anywhere else you like to be sexual. It's about the collective norms we allow around us, at morning tea at work, in the sports stadium, at the pub - or on the Facebook site where your mates are bragging about sexual stuff that's not okay.
We need to push for universal consent education in all our high schools - evidence based, comprehensive, multi-year, taught by experts who address gender norms and teach bystanding skills. Quality high school consent education is the best evidence we have that we can change the rape culture and reduce sexual violence perpetration. Just before Roastbusters, an evaluation of existing school programmes in New Zealand could not give any a pass mark. This and Roastbusters was the impetus for ACC creating a high school healthy relationships programme. Mates & Dates - full disclosure, I was one of the authors - is running now, but it is currently not compulsory. Schools get to "opt-in" around consent education, and they often don't know which programmes are "good".
If we are serious about unraveling rape culture, it might be time to insist on compulsory, evidence based consent education in every high school.
But for today, I will be celebrating those Wellington College boys. The ones who stood up to their mates, and stopped them bragging about rape. We need more boys like them. We need more people like them. What will you do to stand up against rape culture?