The threshold for victims of sexual abuse to ask for help must be lowered. With the project #YOUTOO? we, social designers Anne Ligtenberg and Mats Horbach, together with the relief organization Blauwe Maan, want to increase the skills of social workers to make them able to talk about sexual abuse. For this we use the collective knowledge of victims and experienced care providers. We do this visible to everyone, in the form of an accessible platform on the internet. We want to show the victims that the community of social workers is doing its best for them, so that victims have more confidence to ask for help.
Some topics are difficult to discuss. Sexual abuse is such a topic. Many care providers experience reluctance to act in this area: for example, they are reluctant to bring up abuse in the fear of being wrong. Moreover, sexuality is a particularly delicate subject in our society. We want to be able to talk about it, but we just haven't learned how. While 33 percent of women and 8 percent of men in the Netherlands have experienced sexual assault, we seem to avoid the discussion about this. This places all responsibility on the victim, who must gather the courage to open up about the abuse.
We want to build an online platform together with Blauwe Maan that will grow into a catalog of advice, tips and experiences that can help all care providers. The platform is like a crowdfunding of information, where people can contribute with their knowledge. The catalog is created by the collective, so that individual victims as relief workers feel ownership of the project and feel connected to achieving our common goal. In addition, this is done in all openness, because we want to show the silent victims that the community of care providers is doing its best for them so that victims feel more confident about asking for help.
Our goal is to help counselors and social workers to initiate the conversation about sexual abuse in a responsible, respectful manner, so that not all responsibility rests with victims. It is a very rewarding project to work on and we wish all victims to see that we as a society are doing our best for them. The victims of sexual abuse deserve a helping hand from all of us.
In collaboration with Blauwe Maan
Supported by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie
Photography Anniek Mol
copyright 2020 Anne Ligtenberg.
All rights reserved.