`Loves Me Not’ a crucial lesson


“I want your love and I want your revenge, you and me could write a bad romance.”
Lady Gaga’s hit song lyrics about being caught in a bad romance is my 4-year-old’s favourite dance song at the moment, but could also be relevant for the Loves Me Not workshop, and Sophie Elliott Foundation.
I spent the day recently talking all things relationships, including sex consent, with a class of year 12 pupils. Loves Me Not workshops address unhealthy relationships at an early age to try to help reduce the myriad of issues they cause later.
It was set up by Lesley Elliot and William O’Brien in response to the tragic death of Lesley’s daughter Sophie, fatally stabbed in 2008 in Dunedin by her ex-boyfriend.
Police are resourcing it as it proactively addresses issues we see every day with the 2073 family harm incidents we attended last year in Dunedin.
Domestic violence homicides can etch themselves into attending officers’ memories, as like Sophie’s they can be absolutely chilling. I’ll always remember approaching a large South Auckland man just after he’d stabbed his wife and young son to death, and hearing him wailing about how much he loved
them – the paradox and inherent danger of relationships gone wrong.
Loves Me Not is coming to a school near you as every year 12 pupil in Dunedin will experience it this year. The link: https://youtube/c-gt7QG7GEc gives parents an idea of what it’s about.
With “a cup of tea” used as a metaphor for sex, the issue of sexual consent is addressed, and it may never be the same again when mum asks if you want a cup of tea. www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGoWLWS4-kU
The workshop won’t excite all – one girl in my class spent most her time watching YouTube make-up tutorials on her phone, but judging by the take-up from schools, and the 35 Dunedin police officers who volunteered to participate, it gives a good indication it’s seen by your rank and file officer as a worthwhile endeavour.
Popular culture often works against the values of healthy relationships – all the more reason programmes like Loves Me Not are important to readdress the balance.