Open letter to the Morrison Government and Department of Education about the harmful content still live on its ‘Good Society’ schools resource

Fair Agenda and End Rape on Campus Australia are extremely concerned that the Morrison Government’s Good Society website is still littered with harmful and inaccurate content.

We are deeply worried about the distress and harm this content is likely causing to rape survivors; and that it may be promoting confusion and misconceptions in young people who have been calling out for proper consent education.

Specific content that we are concerned about, and urge the Department to remove from the website immediately, includes:

The suggestion that stillness and looking away should be seen as anything other than a no; or that smiling or laughing should be seen as a yes are horrifying. The suggestion that these actions could be seen or justified as amounting to consent is incredibly distressing and traumatising. Think of how many young women laugh and smile to try and navigate unsafe situations or inappropriate behaviour.

The safety and trauma of survivors should be a central consideration at the centre of every program. Right now this website is actively harmful. Every single piece of content the government is putting in front of young people on this issue should be signed off by experts who actually understand the drivers of sexual violence, and the need for a trauma-informed approach for the students in these classrooms who have already been sexually assaulted.

We are extremely concerned that promoting the current website does more harm than good.

We urge the Government to take down the website while it is reviewed by experts in violence prevention and comprehensive sexuality and relationships education. And to resource experts to build the capacity of educators to deliver effective content and prevention initiatives in schools.