In October 2012, 14 year old Malala Yousafzai was shot in Pakistan. In December 2012, 26 pupils and teachers shot in a school in Newtown, Connecticut. In 2013, we saw reports about young girls being gang raped in India and South Africa.
These were the stories we saw. But so many cases of violence against children go unseen, unheard and unstopped. This is why UNICEF has launched an initiative to highlight the horrific attacks on children and make the invisible visible.
The initiative urges people around the world to join together locally, nationally and globally to pool new ideas and work towards a solution that will fight violence against children so that all children can live in a safe environment, as they deserve.
As part of this initiative UNICEF has also released a video made in collaboration with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson who was eager to lend his support to the cause
“As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, I have long followed the issue of violence against children and the devastating impact it has on children, families and communities,” said Mr. Neeson when asked about his involvement.
“It was a topic that became increasingly real to me as a child growing up in Ireland and during the filming of Taken, which focuses on one aspect of violence and abuse against children in the form of trafficking and sexual exploitation. In order to address the issue of violence, we need to speak out to highlight the problem and take action. I wanted to do that, and I urge everyone else to do the same.”
Though we will never stop every single instance of violence or neglect that occurs, we still have an obligation to do all in our power to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
Legislation and policy is simply not enough. Rules and guidelines cannot be implemented if the abuses are not reported. So it is up to ordinary people, as well as policy makers and local authorities, to ensure that abuse is highlighted.
No child should ever have to suffer the devastating effects of violence. And if they do, they should never be made feel alone and helpless. We need to act now to stop violence and make the invisible visible.
Guest post by UNICEF Ireland volunteer Helen Major