Giving Compass’ Take:
• With sexual harassment and assault continuing to dominate headlines, The United Nations Foundation discussed ways that all individuals can play a part in ending violence against women, from talking to young people about consent to volunteering time to creating a culture that supports survivors.
• Among the leaders in this fight are Nadia Murad, a Yazidi activist from Iraq, and Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, who were recently awarded the Noble Prize for their efforts to end wartime sexual assault. How can we channel their inspiration and the action items in this article to foster real change?
The groundswell of high-profile sexual assault and harassment cases in the U.S. has led to a global debate on the issue, and many once powerful men have seen their careers disintegrate in a matter of days. We also saw massive protests around the world after brutal rapes and subsequent weak government responses in Brazil, India, and South Africa. And global leaders are responding.
Recently, The United Nations and the European Union recently announced Spotlight, a special initiative focused on ending violence against girls and women. At Together for Girls, we’re hopeful that we have finally reached a turning point — where sexual violence in any form will no longer be accepted.
Here are some concrete ways each one of us can help stop sexual violence:
- Create a culture that supports victims and survivors: Approximately one in three girls and one in eight boys experience sexual violence before age 18, but about half never tell anyone. The main reasons for not talking to someone include fear of not being believed, fear of retaliation, and shame. We need to create societies where someone who has experienced sexual violence feels empowered to come forward, knowing they will be believed, protected, and not blamed.
- Talk to children about consent: It’s important to talk to children of all ages about empowerment and consent, and the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching.
- Men, here’s what you can do: Men and boys have a critical role to play in ending sexual violence. Women alone cannot fundamentally transform a culture that condones and excuses behavior like sexual assault; that duty can and should fall to men. Listen to women, talk to other boys and men, and learn and practice consent.
- Support those working to end sexual violence: You can volunteer your time, donate money, and/or lobby legislators.
Read the full article on how to end sexual violence by Dr. Daniela Ligiero at United Nations Foundation.
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