UNICEF expands #TëBesoj campaign to stop Sexual Abuse of Children in Albania, with city of Shkodra as next destination
Shkodër, 20 November 2020 -UNICEF Albania launched its #TëBesoj awareness raising national campaign on sexual abuse against children in the city of Shkodër, at the square in front of the Municipality where the installation of children silhouettes, each bearing a real story of sexual abuse that happened to a child in Albania is placed.
“I was 11 years old when…
…I was sexually abused. Today, I am afraid of not being a virgin and of the issues I will have to face because of it. It took me 8 years to share this to someone… even to this day, I have not told anyone”.
“I was 12 years old...when a much older man sexually abused me, and ever since, I have been dealing with sexuality issues. It took me 12 years to finally talk about it to someone”.
These and many other stories of sexual abuse of children, told through the installation, aim to demonstrate that Sexual Abuse of Children is more widespread than one may imagine, that it is happening in the plain sight, and that it requires immediate and pro-active intervention.
The administrative data from the Albanian State police only confirm the most gruesome predictions of UNICEF - 60% of all sexual abuse cases in Albania are committed against children. In most cases the abuser is in the circle of trust of the child, while in one third of the cases the abuser is a family member (Medialook Report, 2019).
Moreover, UNICEF’s own research “One Click Away” on children’s experiences online, suggests that one in ten children reported at least one unwanted sexual experience through the internet, and were mostly initiated by someone the child already knew.
The opening of this campaign in Shkoder coincided with the anniversary of the signature of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an occasion when a very important pledge for Albanian children was made by all duty bearers, to show commitment towards meaningful and sustainable actions. It’s a day to reimagine one Albania where every child is protected from sexual abuse online and offline.
The launch of the #TeBesoj campaign start in Shkodra was joined by the Mayor of Shkodra Ms. Voltana Ademi.
“With this campaign we want to break the silence around sexual abuse and exploitation of children who need answers! If they were here today, they would need to start trusting us, they would need to see and feel that we are believing them” - said in his opening remarks Dr. Roberto De Bernardi, UNICEF Representative in Albania.
“Sexual abuse is one of the heaviest forms of abuse and exploitation of children that is unfortunately more spread than the official data and information of the public institutions. We are conscious that there is a lot to be done in this direction, by joining forces all public and private institutions and civil society to inform, raise awareness, prevent, support and integrate the victims of sexual abuse” said Mayor of Shkodra, Ms. Voltana Ademi in her opening remarks.
Shkodra becomes the third city in Albania after Tirana and Durrës to host the #TëBesoj Campaign contributing to UNICEF’s commitment to put an end to this horrendous crime.
The collection of stories happened only within a few weeks’ time thanks to great support and collaboration of Nisma ARSIS, Foundation Together Albania and National Child Helpline Alo 116.
The #TeBesoj installation will remain at the square in front of the municipality in Shkodra for 12 days and then will continue to travel to other major cities of Albania.
About the installation
#TëBesoj is a public installation, consisting of children’s silhouettes (boys and girls) each bearing a story of a real sexual abuse and exploitation that happened to a child in Albania. Behind each story, there is a real child, a real person, still suffering the consequences from the abuses that happened to them. The stories do not include children’s names or any other information that may lead to their identification.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/albania.