UNICEF’s #TëBesoj campaign against Sexual Abuse of Children in Albania travels to Durrës.
Durrës, 26 October 2020 - UNICEF Albania launched its #TëBesoj awareness raising campaign on sexual abuse against children, in the city of Durrës, at the Liria Square, where the installation of children silhouettes, each bearing a real story of sexual abuse 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 are just two of Albania's many stories of sexual abuse of children, displayed through the installation, as an eye-opener, which aims to demonstrate that Sexual Abuse of Children is more wide spread 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 confirms 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 1/3rd 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 launch of the #TeBesoj campaign start in Durres was also joined by the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Fiona McCluney, the Mayor of Durrës Mrs. Emiriana Sako and the Prefect of Durrës Mr. Roland Nasto.
“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.
“The United Nations family is fully behind UNICEF’s call for urgent action. We jointly ask the Government, Civil Society, Private Sector, Child Care professionals and Parents to double efforts, to speak up about the issue, to increase vigilance and invest in preventive work for the sake of Albania’s better future” - said in her addressing speech Ms. Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator in Albania.
"Sexual abuse of children is a crime of global proportions. Fighting this crime needs a concerted response from numerous institutions, as well as law enforcement agencies and representatives of civil society. Sexual abuse cases are often the most challenging cases to be treated and handled as sexually harassed children often are not ready to cope with the terrible trauma and face the abuser" highlighted Mrs. Emiriana Sako, the Mayor of Durrës.
The #TeBesoj installation will remain at the Liria Square for 12 days and then will travel to other major cities of Albania. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness on the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation; foster a culture of speaking up about the phenomenon; encourage authorities to act pro-actively and urgently.
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. 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.
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.