The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously approved a resolution Monday designating November 18 every year as the day to spotlight the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
The Global Collaborative, a survivor-led network of NGO’s, faith-based institutions, survivor networks and government, lauded the UN resolution as an “incredible global victory.”
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What the UN resolution calls for
The adopted resolution called for the 193 member-nations of the UN to declare November 18 as the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.
👏 Today, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution declaring November 18 as the 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗗𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗖𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱 𝗦𝗲𝘅𝘂𝗮𝗹— UN GA President (@UN_PGA) November 7, 2022
𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗹𝗼𝗶𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻, 𝗔𝗯𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗩𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲.
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Who sponsored the UN resolution?
Sierra Leone and Nigeria sponsored the resolution, with 110 other countries as co-sponsors
Sierra Leone’s first lady, Fatima Maada Bio, introduced the resolution at the UNGA stakeout. She said child sexual abuse is a “heinous crime” that greatly affects girls who are most at risk of forced sex and exploitation.
“When someone violates your body without your consent, that is a crime, and it’s taking your human rights away from you,” Ms Bio said.
“So, November 18 will be a day that we will gather, and we will scream together and say, `You’re not going to bring us down. We’re still surviving, and we will live. If you think you have finished us, no, you haven’t.’”
In pursuit of @PresidentBio agenda for the protection of our children #SierraLeone partnering with #Nigeria pioneered a groundbreaking #UNGA resolution to declare Nov 18th "World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence" THANK YOU pic.twitter.com/ksqOM5XWoO— H. E. Fatima Maada Bio (@FirstLadyBio) November 7, 2022
What the world needs to do every November 18
The day will also be used to take steps towards prevention and to bring perpetrators to justice. Victims should be given a voice as a part of the long process of healing.
Aside from the governments of 193 countries, international organizations, world leaders, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, faith leaders, academic institutions and private businesses are urged to commemorate the day “in a manner that each considers most appropriate.”
Why child sexual abuse is a global menace
The World Health Organization reports 120 million girls and young women under 20 years of age have suffered some form of forced sexual contact.
A report by The Global Collaborative, a survivor-led network of NGO’s, faith-based institutions, survivor networks and government, cited studies that one in five womnn and one in 13 men report experiencing sexual abuse as children.
“At least 60 percent of child sexual abusse victims never disclose their abuse,” The Global Collaborative said. “In some parts of the world, one out of every two children have experienced sexual abuse.”