Abduction. Child marriage. Rape. Forced prostitution. These are the stark realities for millions of women and girls across the globe—and their stories are not being heard.
Just last year, 9 million girls were forced to have sex against their wills. More than 700 million women alive today were married as children; some 250 million were married before age 15. And worldwide, 176 million children under age 5 live with a mother who is a victim of intimate partner violence.
These numbers speak volumes, something the vast majority of victims can’t do. Whether because of fear of retaliation, a lack of social services and support, or no access to the Internet, these women and girls are silenced. Their experiences remain untold, unheard. And the global epidemic of sexualized violence continues.
But we can help bring their stories to light. We shared our #MeToo stories, now let’s honor hers. Please join me in helping UNICEF stop the sexual exploitation of girls with #HerToo.
Contributing Editor: Maureen Shaw
Maureen Shaw is a multimedia journalist, activist and proud mama of two. Her writing has appeared widely online, including Quartz, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Rewire, ThinkProgress, Parents.com and more. She has also contributed to OURS Magazine, an international cultural magazine, and her essay on triumphing in the aftermath of rape is featured in the book Making Out Like A Virgin: Sex, Desire and Intimacy After Sexual Trauma.
Maureen tweets prolifically at @MaureenShaw.