Rape Awareness Week Focuses on Incest

  • Deborah Morris
Associate Minister of Women's Affairs

New Zealanders were asked to speak up about incest and sexual violence by the Associate Minister of Women's Affairs, Deborah Morris, at the launch of Rape Awareness Week.

"Incest - we know it happens - we know it happens in all socio-economic groups and in all ethnic groups. Yet we mainly prefer not to think about it and not to talk about it. Talking about incest, however, is one of the weapons we have to use against it. Incest is insidious and the silence of its survivors can allow it go on and for more people to become victims. The message to 'speak up', complements the theme of the advertising campaign that accompanies Rape Awareness week - "It ?s OK to talk about incest".

"Today also marks the launch of the report Prevalence and Effects of Incest .

"The report makes for stark reading. It reveals that over 30%of sexual violence survivors helped by Rape Crisis last year were abused by blood relatives. 32% of women in New Zealand are subjected to sexual abuse before the age of 16. Of those abused before age 12, 44% were abused by family members.

"Of course statistics about the incidence of incest tell only some of the story. Incest, like child abuse in general, has been found to be related to almost all mental health problems in childhood, adolescence and adult life.

"The crucial role of Rape Crisis - the only national sexual assault agency in New Zealand - must be acknowledged. Rape Awareness Week is a reminder to us all of how vital their work is," said Deborah Morris