The Unmentionables’ Leaders Tackle SGBV with New International Youth Initiative

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The Young Leaders Against Sexual Violence (YLASV) initiative kicks off today in The Hague at the One Young World Summit. The program has established a cohort of passionate young leaders dedicated to solving issues related to sexual and gender-based violence around the world. Our CEO and Co-founder Kaleigh Heard is the program’s director and our Managing Director Genevieve Westrope is one of the eleven young leaders selected to be part of the inaugural task force.

Over the course of the next two years, the program participants will meet periodically to develop high-impact solutions for fighting sexual and gender-based violence. Of those taking part, Genevieve is the only one focused specifically on addressing sexual and gender-based violence of the forcibly displaced. She was chosen to participate, in part, because her work with The Unmentionables has focused on developing gender-transformative programming, equipping both men and women with the information and education necessary to counter gender inequality and sexual and reproductive rights violations.

According to the United Nations University, “Female refugees across the world are highly vulnerable to all forms of sexual and physical violence. In addition to the dangers women face from contesting armed groups, once on the move from the conflict zone, they are also at risk of being brutalized by human traffickers or even border security forces.” With over 68.5 million forcibly displaced people spread across the globe, a focus on addressing SGBV in this community is crucially important and requires an innovative approach to providing access to information about combating this issue.

The YLASV initiative is supported by global leaders and activists including Fatima Bhutto, Rosario Dawson, Terry Crews, Amber Heard, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman.

Genevieve is in good company as a member of the YLASV task force. Other participants include: Jaha Dukureh, Gambian FGM campaigner and Nobel Peace prize nominee; Park Yeonmi, North Korean defector and human rights campaigner; Amanda Nguyen, author of the American Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights and Nobel Peace Prize nominee; Kamolnan Chearavanont, Co-Founder of the Voices Organization, working to provide shelter for stateless women and children in Northern Thailand; Sebastian Kanz Sanchez, Colombian LGBTQ+ campaigner working on demilitarizing communities after years of violence; Queen Baboloki Kgeresi, supporting survivors of gender-based violence and teenage mothers in Botswana, where over two thirds of women have experienced violence; Grace Forrest, co-founder of the Walk Free Foundation, an international global movement to end modern-day slavery; Luke Hart, an activist who speaks against domestic violence after the murder of his mother and sister by his father; Hauwa Ojeifo, Founder of She Writes Woman, a movement that gives mental illness a voice in Nigeria; Stephen Land, American sexual abuse and attempted suicide survivor advocating openness and tackling stigma around male sexual abuse.

Daniel Berberi