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#MeToo only scratches the surface, one reality is #YouToo?

#metoo #protection #sexualharrassment #safeguarding
Author: Elizabeth Odera
Copyrights: Elizabeth Odera

#MeToo only scratches the surface, one reality is #YouToo?

When Alyssa Milano put out a call on Twitter encouraging women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted, an unprecedented 1.4 million have tagged “#MeToo” and counting. I have been hungrily following the information rushing in, from the entertainment industry, lobbyists and media, amongst others. A larger and wider number scope of conversations with #MeToo have also been raging on Facebook. Even as I followed every story with sympathy, I was left feeling great concern.

On the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria, as they prepares for the examinations. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram, an extremist, Islamic, terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria. For three years, they wanted to use the girls as negotiating pawns in exchange for some of their commanders in jail. Many of the girls have never been returned home.

“Hidden In Plain Sight” a document published by UNICEF in 2014 stated that around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. By far, the most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls are current or former husbands, partners or boyfriends. UNICEF also reported in 2016 that at least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the 30 countries with representative data on prevalence. In most of these countries, the majority of girls were cut before age five.

A recent (2017) global report by UNICEF, shows that almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18 birthday and suffer the risk of experiencing domestic violence, along with early pregnancy and social isolation, interruption schooling as well as limit opportunities to thrive. Further, statistics from the latest UN Women Reports on violence against women estimates that 35 to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, while 43 per cent of women in the 28 European Union Member States have experienced some form of psychological violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

What about the 76 countries that criminalize sexual activity between adults of the same sex, leading to discrimination, harassment and violence against the LGBT community? LGBTQ people face high rates of poverty, stigma, hate-motivated violence and marginalization, which put them at greater risk for sexual assault.

We may remember the 2012 Delhi gang rape case which involved a rape and fatal assault of a young woman that occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi. Public outcry in India and globally led to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013. Yet, a more recently, a 2016 survey conducted by The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority states that more than one in four women in Washington DC, United States, have experienced some form of sexual harassment on public transportation.

Sexual abuse from fellow athletes or management is now a growing concern worldwide.  Last year several news outlets reported instances of sexual abuse by the Women’s Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar.  More accusations are still surfacing and Nassar is currently in jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to three federal child pornography charges in July 2017

More cases are coming to light daily. IndyStar reports that at least 368 gymnasts have alleged some form of sexual abuse at the hands of their coaches, gym owners and other adults working in gymnastics.

Sportanddev.org platform provides a comprehensive background and tools for safeguarding including the International Safeguards for Children in Sport that are downloadable in different international languages. These pioneering safeguards, prepared by international founder member organizations, provide tools for sports organizations worldwide with tools to include comprehensive child protection policies and create effective systems that can process complaints and cases of abuse.

Sexual violence affects every demographic and every community, so let us not think this is the whole story, there’s a lot more of #YouToo?

I welcome your comments: this is an issue that needs more input! You may contact me through liz@lizodera.com or LIKE my Facebook Page or follow me on Twitter

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 02:38