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Bold grassroots campaign, Fight Like a Girl, teaches self-defense to women and girls in Ukraine, with support from the European Union

Fight Like a Girl is a new online space free from stereotypes that equips young women and girls with useful tips on legal and sexual security and physical self-defense against gender-based violence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign was launched on 10 December 2020 and is rolling out fifteen videos in a social media campaign between December 2020 – January 2021.

 

In Ukraine and worldwide, gender-based violence is widespread and systematic, gaining even more momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost half (49%) of women in Ukraine say they have experienced sexual harassment. Under quarantine, the number of registered domestic violence cases rose to over 54%1, and the number of calls to the National Hotline for the Prevention of Domestic Violence doubled2.

 

The Fight Like a Girl campaign features fifteen fun explanatory videos. The videos debunk stereotypes about women and girls and teach the audience how to identify different forms of gender-based violence and cybercrimes that affect women and girls. They also cover essential topics for young adults such as consent to sex, sexual security during the COVID-19 pandemic, and understanding toxic relationships. Lastly, they provide guidance on physical self-defense, through a short series created in partnership with the National Police of Ukraine, that teaches women and girls how to respond to potential attacks from abusers and ensure safe escape.

 

 

The campaign was developed by Gender Stream, a grassroots women's rights initiative from Dnipro, and UN Women in Ukraine, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. It speaks in the friendly and fun voice of a trusted peer and friend on an Instagram account, @FLG_UA, using the hashtags #бийсяякдівчина #fightlikeagirl.

 

Throughout the videos, the audience hears from a number of Ukrainian influencers:

  • Stanislav Korolev, musician, member of the band Yuko;
  • Oleksandra Gontar, journalist of the Toronto Television YouTube project and poet;
  • Volodymyr Beglov, Head of the Human Rights Education Center in Lviv;
  • Natalia Shevchuk, Director General of the Social Film and Advertising Festival;
  • Olga Zhukovtsova, actress of the comedy show Women's Quartal;
  • Katro Zauber, DJ;
  • Vitaliy Zhadan, tactical training instructor, National Police of Ukraine.

 

"Gender-based and domestic violence are human rights violations. Gender stereotypes fuel the continuous existence of this plight. Equipping young people, notably girls and young women against violence, and giving them tools to dismantle stereotypes is key to a more democratic, safer and more prosperous future. There could not be a better name for this campaign than #fightlikeagirl and the EU is happy support UN Women, UNFPA and Gender Stream as representatives of Ukrainian civil society in its implementation", said Martin Schroeder, Head of the Local and Human Development Section at the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

 

"I hope that the project Fight Like a Girl will reach many women and girls, and it will empower them to change their lives. In a society where you do not feel protected, it is vital to try to create security for yourself, as much as possible," commented Oleksandra Gontar, TV host and participant in the project.

 

This campaign was produced in the framework of the "EU 4 Gender Equality: Together against gender stereotypes and gender-based violence" programme, funded by the European Union, implemented jointly by UN Women and UNFPA. This video was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

 

For further information, please contact:

Narmina Strishenets, Communication and Advocacy Analyst, UN Women Ukraine: Narmina.strishenets@unwomen.org or +38(050) 425-79-30

 

1 National Police Statistics as of 9 months, 2020 vs 2019

 

2 UNFPA, 2020