#HerToo: Globally, Girls Are Taking a Stand Against Sexual Harassment
The groundbreaking #MeToo / #HerToo social media movement has encouraged girls around the world to take a stand against sexual abuse and harassment. By sticking up for themselves and for one another, girls are taking powerful steps to demand the respect and protection they deserve.
Girls are more likely to speak up and share their stories when they know that the adults in their lives will listen to them and fight for their right to grow up in a safe and supportive environment. On International Women's Day, UNICEF salutes the courage of girls everywhere.
Kalkidan, a 14-year-old eighth grader in Addis Ababa, knew from her experience in a UNICEF-supported gender club that sexual abuse was wrong: "My friend told me about how the teacher had been abusing her. Once she spoke up, others came forward to say, 'me too.' We decided to do something about it."
Andrea, 18, accepted a friend request from a stranger on Facebook when she was 16: "He sent me some messages, and I replied. That's how it became a problem. He wrote to me every day and told me he knew where to find me, that he would take me with him far away and my family would never see me again."
Mestawet, 14, told friends in her village that child marriage was a harmful practice. Then her parents told her they had arranged for her to marry an older man: "I told my parents, 'I do not want to get married.' But they refused. That's when I ran to the police station."
Rosie, 16, didn't know what to do when a family member started touching her and asking her if she had a boyfriend. Finally, she found the courage to tell her mother: "I think it only takes one little voice to speak out, and other children will feel more comfortable speaking out."
UNICEF calls on partners and governments to join the effort to empower and improve the lives of one of the world's most vulnerable — and most promising — populations: adolescent girls. The world is currently home to 600 million girls, rural and urban, the largest number of adolescent girls in history. Equipped with the right resources and opportunities, these girls can become the largest generation of female leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers the world has ever seen. #TimeIsNow
Top photo: At a junior high school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, teenage girls rallied around a classmate after she confided that she was being sexually abused by a teacher. Thanks to a UNICEF-supported effort by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education to build a system to report on gender-based violence, the girls spoke out against the abusive teacher, who was dismissed and later jailed for his actions. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2017/Demissew Bizuwerk