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#metoo - A move against Women and Gender based Violence

27/10/2017

"#Metoo

I am grateful for faith, God, angel, destiny, karma, or whatever you want to call it, because all the dangers, that I have met, I have also been able to avoid.

Though I also had moments in my life, when only because of good people entering the place by accident or giving a helping hand I have avoided to know what it is like to be sexually assaulted...

But yes, #metoo, I also was frightened, afraid, stunned and stressed... My words, feelings and emotions
were not taken serious... My safe space was interrupted... I was sexually harassed..."

Somehow it happens, that when I start an article, it is never an easy topic. This time I would like to lookahead for one month and remember, that on 25 th of November, it will be the "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women". But it is not only about violence against women I would like to talk, I would like to tackle more generic theme – gender based violence.

If we would take a look to the statistics, they talk better, than any other measures or means:

  • It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or
    sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.
    However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical
    and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime (United Nations);
  • Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th
    birthday (United Nations);
  • While sexual minorities comprise only 3.5% of the population, 30% of reported hate crimes each
    year involve sexual orientation based violence (The Williams Institute).
  • In 2014, the highest amount of hate crimes was against L.G.B.T. individuals and the numbers are
    growing (Federal Bureau of Investigation, USA).

In these days, I believe, almost all of you have noticed a post with a #Metoo. The hashtag started trending worldwide after a call to action from actress Alyssa Milano in the wake of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's downfall over of allegations of sexual misconduct spanning decades. Posting on Twitter on Sunday, Milano passed along a suggestion from a friend on Sunday that women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted post "me too" to "give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem". During the next 24 hours, more than half a million women have shared different posts on Facebook and Twitter with #Metoo.

Only in last 48 hours, 28 friends of mine on Facebook (including me it would be 29) have shared a post with a #Metoo. 29, seems not so much, but... Is it really not that much if we are talking about sexual harassment or assault? 29 women and men at least for once in their life felt dishonoured, their safe space was broken and their feelings and wishes were not taken in consideration. 29 have spoken, and how many remained silent? How many hate crimes, sexual assaults or harassment situations remain unspoken?

This time, again, I am asking all of you to start from ourselves. We cannot change the world and the mentality in one day, but we can do it with time and with education. There is no better gun to be chosen to fight hate crimes and gender based violence, than education. And education starts in our homes. I am a mother of a 5 years old amazing boy, and one of the main goals for me is to share my values with him. Values of respect to human rights, support, tolerance, equality and peace. Those same values, that also unites us, as YEU network.

Being able to feel safe (both, physically and mentally) is one of the basic human right. Only by living these values we are able to make needed changes and support the vision of the future without gender based violence.


To end-up, I would like to quote one very special person. She or he can be found in every country, in every city town or rural area. She or he can be woman or man, young or old, Gay, Straight, Trans, Jewish, mix-race, slim or tall or blond, or brunet… He or she can be each and every one of us, that, when facing gender based violence, hate crimes or other ways of disruption of our human rights always remembers to him/herself and others:


"You may feel week, but within you is the strength to live, within you is the strength to overcome and achieve that which you deserve…!"

(The survivor)

Wishing all a colourful Autumn,
Ieva,

YEU International Governing Board Member


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