There has been quite the Herald Sun media storm recently about our national initiative Rosie – an online resource for girls to help them navigate life’s tricky situations.
Rosie was launched in 2013. Due to its successful take up, with over three million users accessing the resource, we decided to expand the initiative and develop a series of educational modules with accompanying videos for teachers called Rosie in the Classroom. One of the modules on The Art of Safe Sexting was picked up by the Murdoch press with melodramatic headlines such as ‘Lessons in Insanity.’
Our core mission at VWT is to create a safe, fair and equal future for women and girls. And Rosie is one of our flagship initiatives to achieve just this. It provides girls and young women with high-quality information and tools to support them and their decision-making.
So when these negative and misinformed media reports came out, we felt that we had to do what we’ve been doing for the past 33 years: stand up and be heard.
I wrote a response to the Herald Sun which was published on Tuesday 17th July. It sets the record straight on our harm prevention work with girls, and calls out the media reporting for its limitations. Here’s some excerpts:
“Three years ago, we released a new national initiative called Rosie – an online harm prevention support for girls across Australia. Rosie works on two solid assumptions, that the internet is a junkyard and that girls obtain most of their information online.”
“Unique, supported by voluminous research and written plainly for a teenage audience, Rosie remains a huge success, attracting millions of web visits, positive acclaim from girls as well as parents, adolescent health psychologists and educators.”
“We should be talking about educational resources around sexting which are an object lesson in sanity. This lesson has four steps:
ACKNOWLEDGE social realities and be prepared to face the facts. Sexting is happening and teenagers are doing it. And while we live in a fast-paced technological age, it is not going to stop. Existing guidelines are limited, focusing only on potential calamitous harm after the fact, rather than supporting young people in grappling with issues of privacy, sexual expression and agency in their transition to adulthood…
PAY little attention to moral panics…
GO to the primary sources…
CAREFULLY weigh up the reliability of your sources.”
Being able to stand up for what is fair is made possible because of our dedicated community of supporters, including yourself.
Over the course of our VWT journey, we have received little government funding. Nearly all our work is funded by women and increasing numbers of men who share our vision of an equal future.
This financial support from individuals, like yourself, gifts us our independence – it is one of our greatest assets. It allows us to continue to be bold and speak our truth. And we will continue to do so until we can all enjoy full gender equality.
On behalf of everyone at the Trust, thank you for believing in, and enabling, our work.
Yours in solidarity,
Mary Crooks AO