TWO friends with personal experience of sexual violence have established a new initiative to raise awareness about the prevalence of assaults against young women, and provide support for others who’ve been through the same traumatic experience.
Micaela said she and fellow uni student Joey created Young Women Against Sexual Violence after realising how many of their peers had been affected and how many of the attitudes and behaviours that can be pre-cursers to an attack are not called out.
“Nearly every girl has some story, and if it’s not a sexual assault, it’s about non-consensual behaviour,” Micaela said.
“I think that is the issue; there is a lack of education about what is consent, and that comes down to things like the general attitudes about women being there to be conquered, and the lack of information about consent in sex education.”
The pair will hold public events every six weeks in collaboration with local businesses, and Micaela says to show what a live issue it is, they’ve already sold 38 tickets to the first event through word of mouth amongst friends. They’re expecting around 50 all up.
They will also be holding fortnightly meetups for members only, who’ll be women who have experienced sexual violence.
Micaela says they’re not psychologists, so the meetups won’t be group therapy but a supportive environment where young women can share their stories and help each other. She’s unaware of any support groups offering this in WA.
“These events are organised by women with lived experience of sexual violence, which in doing so, empowers us by taking action and having our voices heard,” she says.
Micaela says that’s important because one of the traumatic aspects about a sexual assault for a woman is having her voice taken away.
The launch, Spilling the Tea on Sexual Violence, will be held today (Saturday, October 24) and take the form of a high tea at Hackett Cafe at UWA from 1-3pm. Tickets are available from ywasv.eventbrite. com.au
By Steve Grant