Strengthening participatory practice with children and young people affected by sexual violence
Categories:Young People's Work
My name is Ada.
I am proud to be part of the ‘Our Voices Too’ project.
When I was first invited to join the project I felt scared and excited at the same time.
I felt scared about being part of a new group and about starting a new experience. The project goal [to develop an advocacy campaign addressing sexual violence in Albania] was not easy either. I didn’t know any of the other girls, but through building the right team spirit, it helped me to feel part of the group. We started to believe in each other and work in the same direction. I was also excited to have the chance to contribute in some way to an issue that really matters to me.
Why? I am a survivor of sexual violence.
Through the project I now know that sexual violence can happen to anyone and no one is immune.
Being part of this project helped me day by day to increase my self-esteem and give me the courage to speak up openly about sexual violence - which is still a taboo topic in our country. People in Albania continue to consider sexual violence to be a very personal issue; they still tend to blame the victim instead of the abuser; these crimes continue to be underreported and the abusers unpunished.
Being part of this project has changed not only the way I think and speak about sexual violence, but I also learned new things that I didn't know before, or that I didn’t connect with sexual violence.
This project gave me a voice and the desire to raise that voice, to encourage police officers to treat the victims of sexual violence professionally and to teach young people about sexual violence.
In my opinion involving children and young people to address sexual violence has so many positive effects. They are the voice that other peers want to hear, they have the ability to see the problem from the right angle and are able to propose low cost solutions.
 Ada is a pseudonym that has been used to protect the anonymity of Youth Advocates in this project.
Poster developed by the Youth Advocates for police. The poster’s title is ‘I believe you’: Professional treatment for victims of sexual Violence