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  • Matilda Sandvik

Shame – European stories: Photo and video exhibition

Updated: Jul 12, 2022


From Italy to Sweden – from Romania to Portugal: In recent months, nearly 100 victims of childhood sexual violence have been interviewed and photographed across Europe as part of the European Justice Initiative. Suojellaan Lapsia ry/Protect Children is leading the project’s work in the Nordic countries, strongly amplifying the voices and wisdom of survivors at an international level. The opening of the exhibition “Shame – European Stories” will take place at the internationally acclaimed Biennale of Venice on 22 May 2022.

The scale of the phenomenon of violence and sexual violence against children has never before been captured this way. Photos and videos by award-winning journalist Simone Padovani give the victims a voice and extensively document the injustices they have experienced.

“The aim is to break the silence and bring out the truth about the violence and sexual violence against children as well as the heinous violations of the Rights of the Child” emphasizes Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen, Executive Director, Senior Specialist and psychotherapist, Protect Children.

European Justice Initiative

Victims’ groups launched a large-scale “Justice Initiative” motion across Europe in the fall of 2021, which, for the first time, addresses cases of child abuse and sexual violence comprehensively all across Europe.

Europe has been violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child for decades: Hundreds of thousands of children have been victims of abuse and sexual violence. In most countries, these past events have not been addressed and the motion seeks to change this. The Justice Initiative collectively draws attention to the abuses of the past and the experiences of victims of violence. Victims continue to suffer from trauma symptoms and the lack of public recognition of the abuse and injustice they have experienced. By addressing the past, we can strengthen both the protection of children and the realization of the rights of children and victims in Europe in the future.

The Justice Initiative is supported by victims’ organizations, researchers and NGOs across Europe, joining forces to draft a common political initiative for the Council of Europe, based on the central demands of revealing the truth about child abuses, official recognition, reparation and prevention.

Read more on the Justice Initiative website


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