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Rosebell is a multimedia communications specialist and award-winning blogger with experience in gender, migration, peace and security. Currently works on public interest litigation for gender justice with focus on Latin America -Africa learning. Rosebell holds a Masters in media, peace and conflict studies from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
For the last few years, I have followed stories of women shared on the website and Twitter account, Everyday Sexism. Some were familiar and resonated with my own personal experiences, or friends' experiences from both private spaces and workplaces. In some I saw women I have worked with across Eastern Africa as they battled the consequences of sexual violence in conflict - often the last impact governments recognize, own up to and later do something about.
However, I had never taken time to look into who was the mind behind the brilliant initiative to get women across the world to tell their stories of how they are treated differently, and often violently, everyday.
Reading this piece by the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Laura Bates, was both illuminating and painful. In Uganda, where I live, feminists, especially young daring feminists, are often attacked. In fact, only the government faces more abuse on our Twitter timelines.
Like Bates says, sometimes the trolling and outright violent threats from people behind a computer are manageable compared to the tacit support of those groups of men - sound and well-respected - who, in their effort to continue the "NOT ALL MEN" narrative, often are in support of the trolls.
Bates speaks about the challenges feminists face and how a project to tell stories of women made the founder a target of hate.
The trivialisation of women's experiences from sexual harassment on the streets, in workplaces and in private spaces still exists no matter where one lives. The pushback against those rallying us to tell those stories is well captured in this piece. Bates, however, remains optimistic and hopeful that solidarity created trumps hate.