A large number of Pakistani male celebrities posted their pictures on the internet wearing nail polish. There were many confusions at the start because women normally wear this kind of cosmetic in the country.
However, from now on it seems like men will also support it to spread a critical awareness. The growing crises of child and sexual abuse in the country has angered the public. Shaniera Akram, the wife of ex-cricketer Wasim Akram also shared her opinion on what seems a powerful campaign to raise voice against the increasing cases of child abuse.
The campaign Polished Man is an idea of a social entrepreneur Elliot Costello which began in Australia, in 2014. It went international the next year and this time Pakistan has also participated.
Pakistani Male Celebrities Standing Against Child Abuse
The campaign aims to raise funds and awareness by encouraging men to paint one fingernail for the first 2 weeks of October (1st to 15th). By doing so, they represent the one in 10 children who had experienced violence in their lives. Research indicates that 6 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men have faced sexual assault as a child. Furthermore, a total of one billion children have faced abuse in 2019 which is the half of all the children in the world.
The reason why men are at the forefront of this campaign is that they are both; perpetrators and victims. Moreover, they also do not ask for help if they are suffering from violence. The program encourages them to take a leading step in conversation and efforts to protect children in their societies. Men have always been pushed as the leaders and protectors, whereas children are the most vulnerable.
Following the idea of this movement, many Pakistani male celebrities have taken the initiative to do the same. They have also appealed to other men in the country to paint their finger against child abuse.
What Is It About Nail Polish?
Men are using nail polish to appear soft and tough at the same time. By wearing nail polish they exhibit that the stereotype of gender does not bother them. They are willing to break unnecessary barriers which sow seeds for all kinds of abuse. The main barriers are staying silent and hiding the crime. They all disappear by wearing nail polish. A man with a painted nail appears proud of the cause that he is standing for rather than worried to be criticized as feminine.
Elliot Costello made an inspiring trip to refugee camp in Cambodia that made him start this movement. He met a young female refugee named Thea. They could not communicate due to language barrier but instantly bonded by playing games. Thea drew a heart on Costello’s palm and also painted his fingernails blue. Next day, he learned about Thea’s history of abuse in orphanage. The director sexually and physically assaulted her on daily basis for two years. She might have been amazed to see a different (or rather a polish) side of a man. Costello immediately decided to polish one finger in her memory. After learning the growing rate of similar cases, he established the The Polished Man movement.
Where Does The Money Go?
The campaign has raised a total of 6 million USD in 6 years. More than 100,000 people from over 100 countries have been contributing in trauma prevention and trauma recovery services.
The organization majorly focuses on prevention to terminate the problem from the root. It follows WHO’s identification of poverty, as the root cause of violence against children. So, The Polished Man tries to fund its activities from Costello’s YGAP in order to fight poverty. YGAP is a Non-Profit Organization, which empowers social entrepreneurship to support people in getting themselves out of poverty or shortcomings. Costello co-founded this charity in 2008 and has supported more than 52,000 people out of poverty.
People Appreciating The Movement
A movement like this was important for a country like Pakistan where rape cases have brought people out on the streets. Besides women, child rape cases have also been rising uncontrollably. Just this month two horrible child rape cases have been reported included a 5-year-old girl raped on gunpoint by her cousin, and a 29-month old baby raped and killed in Peshawar.
Pakistani celebrities and The Polished Man have come together to bring attention to this alarming situation. It has been a taboo subject for so long which caused so many deaths. Status consciousness and egotistical people took it against their imaginary honor and kept ignoring the persistent horror.
This has been delightful news for many Pakistanis who think this move can empower girls to safely get through the streets knowing who’s the sworn protector or a potential perpetrator.
If men can do this, they would send a strong message to victims, perpetrators and also themselves. The movement also encourages women to play a role in helping traumatic children however they can.