I grew up in a small house with a backyard and a dog in a safe neighborhood in Tampa, Florida. As a kid, I actually thought it was kind of boring! I knew the basic rules about safety — don’t talk to strangers, never get in a car with someone you don’t know, look both ways before you cross the street. As I got older, there were of course all sorts of rules about boys.
In general, certain things were always considered safe — going to school, getting to and from school, going to practice, and going to church. But did you know that this is not the case for all girls, especially for some of the girls living in countries Girl Up is supporting? For these girls, violence against women and girls — while unacceptable – is common.
For example, during Liberia’s 14-year civil war, it was common for children and young girls to used as fighters. Girls were also kidnapped and married off to much older soldiers as “war brides.” A woman who was a teenager during the war told me she put chalk on her face to appear sick when soldiers came to her village. She did that to discourage them from taking her.
But the UN is working hard to keep girls safe around the world. Girl Up is working with the UN agencies and local organizations in countries like Liberia to protect girls and help those who have been victims of violence.
P.S. Interested in learning more about the UN’s work on this issue? Check out their latest report.
Violence is not a hurricane or an earthquake, but it can be just as devastating. Join us by letting these girls who are at-risk or recovering from violence know that they are not alone. Help us send the message that we are paying attention, and we are taking action.