Blue Umbrella Day 2023

Release Date

PPSEAWA participated in Blue Umbrella Day on 16 April 2023. Members raised a blue umbrella or wore blue to raise awareness of how to care better for boys and protect them from sexual violence and exploitation.

PPSEAWA members learned about Blue Umbrella Day through Rita Panicker Pinto, the Executive Director of Butterflies India, who was a panelist on a NGO CSW67 Virtual Parallel Event entitled “Voices of Child Survivors: breaking silence on child sexual exploitation”. This panel was jointly sponsored by PPSEAWA International and ECPAT International on 9 March 2023. A distinguished panel of speakers shared their expertise on the realities of child sexual exploitation, obstacles towards the pathway to justice, and what can be done to make protection systems more friendly, effective and humane. We also heard from survivors about their lived experiences and trauma, as well as their work as advocates for human rights today.

Rita shared a research study by Butterflies India on the lived experience of boy survivors in four countries: Cambodia, India, Nepal, and the Philippines. An outcome of this research on sexual violence against boys was a better understanding of the link between notions of dominant masculinity and the sexual abuse of boys. Boys have more freedom of movement and fewer restrictions than girls, but can be less protected and less likely to disclose abuse as a result.

Rita emphasized the role of NGOs to generate awareness on protecting boys from sexual violence through social media campaigns such as the Blue Umbrella Day campaign held on April 16. This campaign raises awareness on how to better care for boys through five key points:
1. Boys can be victims of harm and online sexual exploitation
2. Boys need adult guidance and care; teach boys how to set body boundaries and how to recognize inappropriate behavior.
3. Being “a man” means looking after yourself and being kind to others
4. Boys are far less likely than girls to ask for help - provide safe spaces for boys to speak up about sexual abuse without
criticism or judgement
5. Advocate for services for all children affected by sexual violence to be inclusive.