Uni group taking a stand against sexual violence

Showing respect for people who are resilient in the face of sexual violence is one of the aims of...
Showing respect for people who are resilient in the face of sexual violence is one of the aims of the Thursdays in Black movement, organised in Dunedin by Tanya Findlater (left) and Kayli Taylor. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
As allegations of sexual assaults continue to surface from Knox College, a University of Otago campus-based group is working to combat attitudes that permit rape and violence.

Thursdays in Black is a global movement started by the World Council of Churches.

It encourages people to take a stand against sexual violence by wearing black on Thursdays and holding events raising awareness of sexual violence and its impact.

In Dunedin, third-year media and film studies student Tanya Findlater (20) and second-year history student Kayli Taylor (19) run the University of Otago's chapter of Thursdays in Black, which aims to bring an end to sexual violence and harassment.

Founder Miss Findlater said she started promoting the movement and organising events after she was approached by the Otago University Students' Association welfare officer in 2017 and asked to get a group up and running again on campus, after many years of inactivity.

"It used be super successful and we would really like to see it reach that point again.''

Both Miss Findlater and Miss Taylor, the co-founder and secretary, said they had worked hard to put the movement "out there'' over the past few years, creating posters and hosting events.

The group organises semi-regular events, such as tea and coffee giveaways, where they also chat about consent.

One event, run with the group Students Against Sexual Violence, to be held at the end of this month could be particularly confronting.

The "What I was Wearing'' exhibition, to be held in the Union Hall, will display clothes, that people were wearing when they were sexually assaulted.

Miss Taylor said the exhibition was about challenging the myth that sexual violence happened in dark alleyways.

 - Elizabeth Thomson

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