Students join Kaikohe anti-abuse march

7:47 pm on 24 September 2015

Northland College students joined a march through the streets of Kaikohe today to raise awareness of child sexual abuse.

The hikoi against child sexual abuse.

The hikoi against child sexual abuse. Photo: MASSIVE (Men Against Sexual Violence)

Community leader Mike Shaw said there were signs a July hīkoi against abuse was encouraging sexual abuse victims to speak up and get help.

"The area of sexual violence up to this point has still been something that people don't talk about," he said.

"Raising awareness gives people an opportunity to talk and seek solutions and answers.

"In terms of a public awareness raising event I think we hit the mark today".

Mr Shaw said the theme of the march was based on a tangihanga or funeral procession through the town.

He said a few kuia were dressed in their mourning attire and were weeping as they took part in the hīkoi.

Mr Shaw said during the past week there have been three suicides in the rohe, and two of them were young people who took their lives.

He said because the youth suicides were linked to bullying, tauira [students] from Northland College used the hīkoi to voice their concerns, too.

"We had good support from Northland College and the students thought it was an anti-bullying march but the two themes of sexual abuse and bullying are quite related."