Photo: students from Waikato Institute of Technology and the University of Waikato

Thursdays in Black believes that we have a problem with sexual assault in our communities, but that a different reality is possible. We believe that sexual assault is a social problem fostered by negative attitudes about sexuality, victim-blaming, and a lack of support. We believe it can be heavily reduced with comprehensive education about healthy relationships and what constitutes sexual violence, enhancing a culture that believes and supports victims, and a community that works together for a common goal. Thursdays in Black want to actively pursue these goals for the health and well-being of the student community, and wider society on the whole.

We believe that the only way to fix problems like sexual violence is to a) see them, b) acknowledge them, c) understand them, and then d) address them.

We believe that students and staff have the right to feel safe, supported and encouraged when speaking up about sexual violence. We believe this right needs to be exercised without fear of censorship or repercussions from their institution. We believe when we foster a campus community and peer climate where sexual violence is not tolerated, and harmful attitudes and behaviours are actively prevented, we move towards a world that is free from rape and violence.

We believe that although there is a gendered pattern of violence, anyone can be a victim. We acknowledge the nature and prevalence of sexual violence changes for different groups and believe that change isn’t possible without rolling out a campaign that caters to diverse needs and allows those voices autonomy. We believe the success of our work is contingent on delivering this part of the work with absolute responsibility and accountability.