WOKE UP! – Social media campaign raising awareness of gender-based violence in the framework of the EU funded project REBOOT NOW: Preventing gender-based violence among youth in the post-Covid era

The COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020 exacerbated social issues across Europe. More specifically, children have suffered from disruptions in schooling, social isolation, prolonged periods in closed family environments and little to no accessibility to support services (such as victim/mental health support) and have been affected in many ways: cyber and domestic violence, psychological distress, disruptions in eating, sleeping and hygiene habits, changes in behaviour and lack of interest in schoolwork and personal relationships. 

The REBOOT NOW project was initiated from the idea to address these emerging pandemic challenges related to children's well-being, mental health and safety in general, but particularly their increased exposure to gender-based violence (GBV) and their predictable difficulty in forming safe/healthy relationships. REBOOT NOW is a child-centered transnational piloting initiative aimed at preventing and combating gender-based violence (GBV) among children/young people by supporting their psychological well-being through an evidence-based replicable service, with children’s active engagement.

One of the activities of the project is the WOKE UP! social media campaign raising awareness of gender-based violence. For the past 3 months our valuable young ambassadors have worked together with project managers and other young people from the partner countries of the REBOOT NOW project - Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, and Slovenia - to spread awareness on various forms of gender-based violence through images. These images, created by an Italian advertising agency CHEAP, portray different social issues where young people experience GBV in an endeavor to pass on the message that Gender Based Violence is everywhere and we should act to eliminate it. 

Working with HFC staff to articulate the message portrayed by the images below, our young ambassadors involved in the project came up with the following descriptions: 

1.    Did you know that according to EU statistics, over half of all women (55%) in the EU have been sexually harassed since the age of 15? 

2.    Not a societal expectation? This is A NORMAL thing any girl can do. Games are for all! 

3.    TEACH YOUR KIDS – BREAK stereotypical, societal norms and help achieve equality from within the household. 

4.    According to research, spending more than 3 hours on social media per day puts adolescents at a higher risk for mental health problems whereas 13% of kids ages 12-17 report depression and 32% report anxiety. There is too much content shared with young people online. Love yourself, love your body and develop positive thoughts! 

Break the circle, be your own change.

5.    According to the UN, one in three (33%) women/girls have experienced physical/sexual violence?. Gender-based violence is a topic concerning all… Stop spreading gossip that blame the victim. Show your support

6.    Did you know that Scotland in 2020 was the first country in the world that made sanitary products free for all? Time for change in all EU countries, women’s bodies should be normalized!

In order to strengthen the existing psychological support mechanisms in the participating countries and to prevent and address adolescent violence, a practical pilot intervention in the form of counselling desks as well as targeted educational activities such as workshops, awareness-raising campaigns and training in schools were implemented as part of the REBOOT NOW project. These activities and events helped build the capacity of school staff and families in prevention and identification of at risk cases of teen-dating violence while engaging older peers (aged 15-18) to further support the prevention of GBV among young people (aged 10-14).

Funding reference: The Project is funded under Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Program of the European Commission. (Project Number 101049567-CERV-2021-DAPHNE)