In every corner of the world, sexual violence continues to be used as a common tool of abuse typically against women and children. In the wake of international movements such as #MeToo – a campaign aimed at raising awareness of rape culture and toxic masculinity – sexual violence remains at the top of the global agenda as one of the most critical issues plaguing both developed and developing countries alike.
One Young World (OYW) Ambassadors representing every region are driving action on sexual violence through innovation, activism and advocacy, and as a result, are improving the lives of countless individuals.
To celebrate International Women's Day 2020, OYW shines a spotlight on ten One Young World Ambassadors working to eradicate gender-based violence - for good.
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Author of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights
Amanda is the CEO and founder of Rise. She penned her own civil rights into existence and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, after having to navigate the broken criminal justice system after her own rape. Amanda has been named by Foreign Policy as a Top 100 Leading Global Thinker, Marie Claire as a Young Woman of the Year, The Tempest's #1 Woman of Color Trailblazer a Forbes 30 Under 30.
Domestic Abuse Survivor, Violence Against Women Advocate
On 19th July 2016, Luke’s world was turned upside down after his father shot and killed both his mother, Claire, and sister, Charlotte, before committing suicide - just five days after Luke and his brother, Ryan, had moved their family away from his controlling clutches. The heartbreaking experience prompted Luke and Ryan to speak out against male abuse and violence.
Together they published Operation Lighthouse, an account of their devasting experience, shining a light on the domestic abuse and toxic masculinity.
Queen’s Young Leader, Sexual Assault Survivor, Founder, She Writes Woman
After being diagnosed with bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder and experiencing suicidal idealisations as a result of suffering extreme sexual violence and abuse, Hauwa founded She Writes Woman, a platform to raise awareness about mental illnesses in Nigeria and give people struggling with mental illness a voice.
Through She Write Women, Hauwa is creating sustainable and innovative mental healthcare solutions in her country, while inspiring dialogue to destigmatise and correct the misinformation surrounding mental health awareness.
The Queen’s Young Leader & 2019 Obama Foundation Leader took to the stage at One Young World The Hague, sharing her story with 1,900+ young leaders at the Summit.
“If I do not speak up, one more person will have to live in shame and fear of stigma.”
Founding Director, Walk Free Foundation
Grace is a founding director of Walk Free, an international human rights group focused on the eradication of modern slavery. Since its formation in 2011 it is now one of the leading anti-slavery organisations in the world.
Grace has spent extensive time working in South East Asia and the Middle East, using photography and storytelling to share the stories of survivors of modern slavery, with a current focus on refugee communities. She regularly represents Walk Free at international forums, including events at the United Nations and at the Vatican.
In 2018, Grace successfully campaigned for a national Modern Slavery Act in Australia, which enacts a statutory modern slavery reporting requirement for larger companies operating in the country. In the same year, she was appointed The United Nations Association of Australia’s youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador for Anti-Slavery.
This year, at the 10th Annual One Young World Summit in London, Grace joined fellow Ambassador Yeonmi Park and One Young World Counsellor, Ilia Calderon, for an open discussion about human rights and challenges she faces in the fight to end modern slavery in all its forms.
North Korean Defector, Human Rights Activist
At the 2014 One Young World Summit in Dublin, 25-year-old human rights activist and North Korean defector, Yeonmi, became an international phenomenon, exposing a life of brutality living under the North Korean regime. Her escape from North Korea has given the world a window into the lives of its people.
Yeonmi's searing memoir about her escape, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom, was released in 2015. Yeonmi has taken it upon herself to tell the story of millions, urging the world to recognize the oppressed people of Kim Jong-Un’s reign.
Founder of AFPHY
Dickel was born in the small town of Dabbe in Mauritania. A victim of sexual abuse, Dickel recognised the importance of financial security for women early on. She founded AFPHY in 2017, an organisation that stands against gender-based discrimination and violence by promoting equal rights and generating jobs for women and girls across rural areas in Mauritania. AFPHY has helped close to 500 women find stable employment from four different villages in the Brakna region.
Dickel shared her story on stage at the 2019 One Young World Summit in London during the Poverty Alleviation Plenary session.
Jemima began volunteering for the Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence when she was 19 years old, and has focused her work in this area since.
Jemima leads the OYW Working Group to End Domestic Abuse; its aim is to engage corporate organisations and employers in ending domestic abuse. The working group has launched professional workshops and training, and compiled a report which documented £2.7 billion of lost economic output is caused by domestic abuse in the UK every year.
She was recently a finalist for the First 100 Years Inspirational Women of the Year Awards in the Champion of the Year category. She worked extensively on the introduction of the first Domestic Abuse Bill in the world and campaigned widely for it, however it ultimately did not make its way through Parliament in 2019.
Founder of WeSayChange
Based on her experiences at the One Young World 2018 The Hague Summit, Satta founded WeSay Change - Liberia’s first online referral and reporting centre for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to take action against sexual abuse.
WeSay Change is a Regulated Call directory system designed to support survivors of sexual abuse psychosocial and mental needs. The WeSay Change online platform provides information on all SGBV referral and medical centres and provides accessible content covering the Liberian Rape Law, Children’s Laws and other legal instruments that prohibit sexual violence in Liberia. The project has already reached out to over 5,000 people in four counties in Liberia. The platform also hopes to reach schools and communities without access to the internet through radio drama, using local languages to highlight the dangers of SGBV in an accessible and understandable medium.
Director of Life in Leggings
Ronelle is the Director of Life in Leggings. After multiple experiences of sexual assault and abuse, Ronelle decided to take her experience to social media. The social media campaign #LifeinLeggings was created as a safe space for women who had experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault.
The success of the viral hashtag provided documentation of all varieties of gender violence against women in the Caribbean and helped changed the social landscape around catcalling and gender-based violence.
Ronelle spoke about her experience on stage at the 2019 One Young World Summit in London during the Peaceful Future Plenary Session.
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Africa, Women’s Rights Activist, ENDFGM Campaigner
Jaha is a Gambian women's rights activist and anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) campaigner, refusing to let the horror be silenced. She was subjected to FGM when she was a little more than a week old. She is the founder and executive director of Safe Hands for Girls, an organization working to end FGM, and was the lead campaigner in The Guardian's End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign.
In November 2015, Jaha convinced President Jammeh to outlaw FGM in The Gambia.
Jaha has featured among world leaders in the 2016 Time 100 list, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in February 2018, has won the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, and is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Africa.
This year, at the 10th Annual One Young World Summit in London, Jaha joined Richard Branson and Uzo Iweala to explore how rising global leaders are changing their communities right now and tackling global challenges in the process.
“We have a chance to make sure that our future is better”