How GLOW Girls in West Africa are Speaking Out Against Sexual Violence
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and April 26th is Denim Day, an international day of advocacy for millions around the world to wear denim to support survivors and educate others about gender-based sexual violence. This Denim Day, we’re doing our part by sharing inspiring stories of the girl-led fight against sexual violence in West Africa.
Globally, adolescent girls are the most vulnerable to all forms of sexual violence. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 3 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Many of those who experience sexual assault experience it first as young girls. By the time they are 19, 1 in 4 young girls who have been in a relationship will have already been abused by a former partner, either physically, physiologically, or sexually. Worldwide, 15 million teenage girls (15-19) have experienced forced sex.
Sexual violence harms girls’ futures, but Global GLOW is giving girls across 30 countries the knowledge, skills, and confidence to advocate for their health and well-being. This is how girls in West Africa are using their GLOW Club education to end sexual violence in their communities.
In Nigeria, A Community Play Sparks Conversation
In a country where a quarter of women have reported sexual violence before the age of 18, Glow Girls in Nigeria are provided a safe space to discuss an issue that affects so many of their peers: teen dating violence. With the guidance and support of trusted local mentors, they’re educating themselves about the cycles of abuse in relationships and how they can advocate for their rights.
GLOW Girls in Nigeria are learning how to identify the cycles of abuse in relationships.
In Wumba District, GLOW Girls recently implemented a community project to raise awareness about gender-based violence. They facilitated conversations about child abuse, domestic violence, and gender inequality with neighbors and community members. To further advance their message, they wrote, coordinated, and acted in a play that educated audience members about how gender discrimination harms girls in the local community.
Nigerian GLOW Club Member Joyce uses her talent of drawing to draw attention to child abuse in her community.
In Cote D’Ivoire, Girls Take to the Streets
In Cote D’Ivoire, 1 in 5 girls experience sexual violence as children. GLOW Girls in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire are working to change that number, for good. For their GLOW Club community project, they put their advocacy skills into action. Printing leaflets and flyers about the importance of girls’ rights, they went into the community (with the guidance and support of their mentors) and spoke directly with community members about why sexual violence against girls must end so girls can get an education and improve their communities.
For these GLOW Girls, the ultimate goal was to change their community’s perception of adolescent girls. By bravely advocating for themselves and the rights of others, they showed just how much girls can accomplish when they are given the tools to speak out against injustice.
GLOW Girls in Cote D’Ivoire speaking with community members about the importance of ending child abuse to keep girls in school.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month may be in April, but GLOW Girls are advocating to end gender discrimination all year long. You can, too. Throw on some jeans for #DenimDay, share these stories of strength with your friends and family, and join Global GLOW in our efforts to equip girls across the globe with the skills they need to determine their own futures.
Global G.L.O.W. partners with community-based organizations in 30 countries to operate mentorship-driven programs for girls ages 10-18. Our SEL-based curriculum gives girls the tools to express themselves, advocate for their rights, and challenge the most critical barriers to achieving gender equality. Support our work at globalgirlsglow.org/donate.
** Work made possible through collaboration with our incredible local partners, Nigeria Reads, Education and English for You, and Health Aid for All Individuals (HAFAI)