#MUSUDAUG (en. #MANYOFUS) is a project organised and created by ‘Moterys kalba’ team, dedicated to commemorate the 25th of November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
We have invited 6 famous Lithuanian men – singer-songwriter Andrius Mamontovas, columnist Andrius Užkalnis, comedian Olegas Šurajevas, journalist Šarūnas Černiauskas and radio hosts Jonas Nainis and Richardas Jonaitis. These men agreed to participate in this project without knowing any further details. We asked them to read 6 stories of women who experienced sexual violence. These were real stories that reached us after we asked the fans of our Facebook page to share their stories on sexual violence and sexual harassment. Out of 25 stories 19 happened in a domestic environment endured by women in all phases of their lives, including childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Women suffered sexual violence perpetrated by their fathers, uncles, brothers, neighbors, step-fathers and partners, etc. Even though many crimes stay unreported and it is hard to measure the exact numbers of sexual violence in Lithuania but according to research done in Lithuania in 2010, 25 percent of girls up to 18 years old have experienced sexual violence. That is one in four girls. When sexual abuse occurs within the family, talking about it and reporting it means to destroy the family idyll. Family members of the girls who were sexually abused in a domestic environment often ask the girls to simply not talk about it anymore. Victims also chose to remain silent because talking about sexual violence is still highly stigmatized in our society. Often a victim is blamed more than a perpetrator and people try to find excuses to justify the violence. Victims of sexual violence emphasize emotions they suffer – guilt and shame. We want to take these feelings away from the victims and redirect them to the perpetrators. According to the research published by EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2014 on on gender-based violence against women, some 12 % of women indicate that they experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before the age of 15. That is about 21 million of EU women! The research also shows that one in three females from 15 years old have suffered from physical and (or) sexual violence. All of EU countries participated in this research. #MUSUDAUGis a project created to reveal these cases of sexual violence to the public. Together we can create an environment where the victims would be able to speak, find help and heal emotionally. According to the survey mentioned above, only 15 percent of women have reported their most severe sexual violence case inflicted by a partner and only 14 percent of women have reported about their most severe sexual violence experience that was inflicted by a non-partner. Sexual violence is a crime, a crime that happens in both cities and villages, it does not depend on a person’s socioeconomic status and even family ties do not prevent this. Let’s become the people that victims of sexual violence can reach out to. Let’s be those people who will approach a woman in case we recognize sexual harassment happening to her or if we find out about sexual abuse she suffered. Let’s be those who will offer help when that woman feels a need to consult a psychologist or go to the police. Let’s be those who support and stand beside them. Let’s be the people they can talk to. #MUSUDAUGand we can help change this. This text is a part of ‘Moterys kalba’ project #MUSUDAUG, created to draw the public’s eye to sexual violence occurring around us.