By BEL JACOBS
Andrea Riseborough has taken part in a new campaign by ActionAid for International Women’s Day 2018.
The Devil's Whore actor has been joined by fellow performers Pearl Mackie and Kiran Sonia Sawar, Muse model and body positive ambassador Charli Howard and England National Netball team players Sasha and Kadeen Corbin in #MyBodyIsMine, ActionAide's campaign to encourage women to reclaim their rights to their own bodies and to demand justice for survivors.
The campaign comes in the wake of YouGov polls revealing that more than two thirds of women who have been sexually harassed globally have not officially reported it to the police. Half said it was because they believed it ‘would be pointless' with over a quarter admitting to feelings of shame or guilt and fears of retaliation.
The #MeToo movement has seen millions of women sharing their experiences of sexual harassment, but the research suggests that this isn’t -yet - being reflected in legal action against perpetrators. In Brazil, two thirds of women surveyed said they had experienced sexual harassment, alongside nearly half of women in the UK, 43 per cent in South Africa and 41 per cent in India. Most of those experiences are going unreported.
“These survey results shows that women around the world are experiencing sexual harassment on a shocking scale,' says Girish Menon, ActionAid Chief Executive. "The fact that women believe it is pointless to report these experiences is a worrying reflection of the system of power and patriarchy we live in.”
One in three women worldwide will be beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime, most likely by someone they know. Outrageous as it may seem, women’s and girls’ bodies are still seen as the property of men, for them to exploit and control. “Pervasive harassment, and violence against women happens because of deep-rooted gender inequality, which sees women as worth less, and teaches men that they are entitled to women’s bodies,” says Menon.
Girls in poverty, in particular, are very vulnerable to abuse and often go unheard, unsupported and unable to report the crimes against them. In the communities where ActionAid works, local women’s groups are stopping girls from being abused and making sure survivors are heard, treated and have the backing of the law. ActionAid stands with these courageous women who do remarkable work.
ActionAid Ambassador Emma Thompson, who has travelled with ActionAid seven times to see their work tackling violence against women and girls, said: “If there was a message, a sort of mind vaccine, I could give to all girls around the world it would be this: This is my body and it belongs to no-one else, it’s mine. I am my own property. I am myself. I have jurisdiction over my body and no-one can take that away from me under any circumstances without my consent. Property of me. That’s my message, so share #MyBodyIsMine today.”