The Let Us Live rally took place on Wednesday night in Wellington.
Organised by advocacy group Wellington Alliance Against Sexual Violence, hundreds gathered at Courtenay Place to protest rising sexual violence in the city.
The rate of sexual violence in Wellington has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past five years, police data shows. Recently, an online forum where people share their experiences of sexual violence in the city was set up by students Ella Lamont and Sophia Lawson. Nearly 3000 people have responded.
Ella Lamont (middle)
“All the lived experiences that we received were incredibly sad but they’re not surprising. We’re seeing common threads of groping, ass grabbing, people being followed, all of that just seems to be really prevalent in Wellington. And something needs to be done about it.”
Tamatha Paul, Wellington City councillor
"I want to make it clear that we could do everything in this space - we could make the lights brighter, we could take the cars out, we could get rid of all the construction - but unless we address the problem at the root, the problem will not change."
Rally organisers Wellington Alliance Against Sexual Violence want the local council, central government and Hospitality NZ to implement a dedicated strategy for addressing sexual violence in the Wellington.
Information collected from Ella Lamont and Sophia Lawson’s online forum is due to be presented to Wellington City Council in a few weeks. They want to show what is happening, and how changes like more street lights and education around consent could help.
Marama Davidson, Minister for Family and Sexual Violence Prevention
“I’m sorry you even have to ask for a city to have a plan to be safe. No matter how much alcohol we’ve had, no matter what we’re wearing, no one is entitled to sexually or violently abuse anybody.”