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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Beyond #MeToo, Young Women Overcome Political Tensions to Share Experiences with Gender-Based Violence Through State Department Funded Program

Press Release – NEW YORK, March 8, 2018 — While dialogue on gender-based violence (GBV) and harassment spreads globally and political tensions rise across nations, young women in New York City, USA, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Kyiv, Ukraine will engage in an online seminar on March 17, 2018 as part of the Girl-talk-Girl program by Footage Foundation. During the seminar, young women will explore themes from digital stories they created on the violence and harassment ever-present in their lives, as well as form relationships and community across political, cultural, and geographical borders.

In preparation for the event, on International Women’s Day (March 8), and throughout the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (March 12-23), Footage Foundation is releasing online and across social media, the stories by young women participants in Kyiv who have been internally displaced by armed conflict with Russia-backed separatists. Dissemination of the stories come at a critical time when current events and hashtags on GBV, such as #MeToo, have become viral across platforms.

Girl-talk-Girl began and scaled in New York City and St. Petersburg from 2014-2016 with two U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program Awards from the U.S. Department of State. The program designed an online platform and mobile phone application to support young women in producing and sharing digital stories of personal experiences with GBV and released a micro-documentary.

Footage Foundation provided Girl-talk-Girl in Kyiv this past fall for internally displaced young women in partnership with local arts organizations Artil Maidan and Theatre for Dialogue and with support from a Public Diplomacy Program Award from the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. With GBV pervasive and secretive in the country, conflict and insecurity have made an already dire situation for women exponentially worse.

“In Ukraine, gender-based violence is a big issue… Issues around psychological and women violence is rather tolerated… It is very hard for women to go to the police or complain to somebody. So, it would be desirable to get more support and protection for women in Ukraine,” says “IB,” a program participant.

Footage Foundation has received further funding from the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile to provide Girl-talk-Girl to first generation women students at Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile this spring.

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