: #IAmNotAfraidToSayIt: Ukrainian social media users break the silence on sexual violence

11:18 Jul. 7, 2016

#IAmNotAfraidToSayIt: Ukrainian social media users break the silence on sexual violence

Photographs by Marcio Freitas of models portraying women who are abused are displayed on Copacabana beach with 420 pairs of underwear at a demonstration against violence against females on June 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. (Getty Images)

Ukrainian Facebook users have already published dozens of posts with the hashtag, supporting the campaign 

A new hashtag is trending in the Ukrainian segment of Facebook:‪#‎ЯНеБоюсьСказати (#IAmNotAfraidToSayIt). On the hashtag, Internet users have been sharing their stories and experiences of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and domestic violence, according to Global Voices.

The hashtag—and the ensuing flashmob—was started by activist and journalist Nastya Melnychenko, who published a post explaining her desire to speak out on Facebook on July 5.

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In her post, Melnychenko says she feels the need to talk about her very personal experiences of sexual violence because it's important for women who have faced such violence to speak about it and make it "visible."

"I want us, women, to talk today. To talk about the violence that most of us have lived through. I want us to stop making excuses and saying "I was wearing gym clothes during the day, and still got pawed." We don't need to make excuses. We're not to blame, those who violate us are ALWAYS to blame.
I am not afraid to speak out. And I do not feel guilty."

Melnychenko recounts several instances of sexual harassment and violence throughout her life, from the time she was a child of 6 and harassed by a distant male relative, to the time she was already an adult and an ex-boyfriend threatened to post a sex video of them made earlier online as revenge for the breakup.

Melnychenko's post and her call to share their stories resulted in multiple other Facebook users in Ukraine using the hashtag to post about their own experiences of sexual violence.

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