Dear Em – a safe place for young women
Dear Em is a place for girls and young women to have a voice: to find ways to be stronger and more confident in managing stressful situations of all kinds; to recognise sexual violence; and to learn to support one another.
Why Dear Em? Because many girls are still being hurt by sexual violence
New Zealand girls may be sexually abused before she turns 16.
Around 90% of the abuse will be done by someone she knows.
Social support helps people heal – let’s stay connected
Dear Em has been here to HELP since 2016
We set up Dear Em in 2016 because girls and young women told us they wanted a safe online community where they can feel connected and empowered, find information about sexual abuse, and learn skills to navigate stress and build resilience. They told us that we need to be where they live – online – as many young people prefer not to use traditional services, such as talking to someone they don’t know on the phone or meeting face-to-face.
Dear Em has 3 main goals that guide us in everything we do:
To EMPOWER young people by teaching positive ways to cope with stress and adversity, to be resilient every day.
To provide and nurture EMPATHY, by sharing stories of young, inspiring women overcoming tough times and achieving amazing things.
To help young people EMBRACE and build a community that supports its young women – particularly through educating about sexual abuse, how common it is, and what services are around to help.
Our amazing Embassadors
Dear Em is driven by a team of Embassadors aged between 16-24, who take part in a year-long Leadership Programme, which supports them to explore different youth relevant issues and become leaders in their own communities. They also learn to produce digital content to help support the wellbeing of young people and their ability to navigate different issues.
Together, our Embassadors work towards inspiring and educating people to create a Te Tiriti based, consent-promoting and just society; and to advocate for a society where all people have equal access to opportunities and resources while being safe, nourished, empowered and supported.
“It’s a really special thing, especially when the girls come up to you afterwards and give you hugs and say ‘this is awesome’ or even follow us on Instagram. Being able to have a positive impact on those girls feels like I’ve come full circle – it’s really, really special. ”
* Name changed to protect identity.
Connect, follow or share with Em
Our Instagram page is where we connect most with our community. Here, we share wellbeing tools to help you to care for yourself and those around you; promote youth movements and advocate for change; share inspiring stories from other young people and updates about what our team are up to; and talk about relevant things happening across Aotearoa and the world.
On our website, you’ll find a range of helpful resources, information about sexual violence and where to find support, as well as articles and stories written by young people about their own journeys and experiences.
Young people are welcome to share their work on our website to support other young women. For some survivors, writing about and sharing their experience can help them to process what has happened and be an important part of their healing journey. If you’d like to share something you’ve written, feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org