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Stamping out 'low level sexual harassment' first step in combatting 'rape culture' – educator

A rape prevention educator says so called "rape culture" can be changed by first calling out low level sexual harassment.

Debbi Tohill and her team of 30 work in schools around Auckland to teach students about positive relationships, preventing rape and the issue of sexual consent.

"We need to call people out when they’re making sexist jokes and making somebody uncomfortable," Ms Towhill, Rape Prevention Education's executive director told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

"There are easy ways that we can stop low level sexual harassment so that it's not acceptable to do more and more and eventually lead into sexual violence."

She says rape is very much a "power and control issue, somebody taking control of somebody else.

"Having a healthy relationship is where people are respected and listened to... ...just because you give consent to one sexual activity doesn't mean you've given consent to another one.

"A 'yes' given in any moment can be withdrawn at anytime."

Ms Towhill says they teach students to ask and not assume anything and to listen to the answer.

"Look at the body language, look at the eye contact and don't just assume that just because someone's saying yes, that it's a proper 'yes'."

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Debbi Tohill talks to Breakfast about how to prevent rape and explains what consent is. Source: Breakfast