Why respectful relationships are so important

Year 10 students on both sides of the Border will be given greater knowledge and understanding of why respectful relationships are so important at a youth forum today.

Wodonga Council is hosting the cross-border initiative with Albury Council, Victoria Police, Albury Wodonga Health, NSW Department of Education, Wodonga Middle Years College, James Fallon High School and Albury High School.

The Respectful Relationships forum will be held at The Cube Wodonga auditorium and builds on last year's LoveBites program, a campaign about healthy relationships that targeted year 10 students.

Guest speaker, Melinda Tankard Reist will be taking students on a ‘tour’ of media and popular culture in a dynamic, multi-visual presentation.

She will unpick the images, messages and ideas they receive every day from toys, games, music videos, advertising, marketing, clothing, magazines and explicit sexual imagery and help students understand how these messages contribute in harmful ways to their views of themselves, their bodies, relationships and sexuality, negatively affecting their physical, emotional and social development.

She will then explore how students can respond personally and collectively to address the issue, providing positive and inspiring examples of young women and young men taking action for social change and cultural transformation.

After lunch students will participate in a workshop hosted by Reach - one for males and the other for females.

• Locker Room (male only) Designed for boys to explore traditional notions of masculinity and the negative consequences and behaviours that can result. Boys are encouraged to courageously and honestly express themselves while challenging limiting gender stereotypes, judgements and beliefs.

• Birdcage (female only) Encourages girls to explore and critically question expectations and ideas about gender in society. Seeks to provide ideas and tools to improve body image and self-belief.