On the International Day of the Girl, Terre des Hommes is launching the Orange Revolution across Italy to stamp out violence against girls and gender discrimination – and instead spread a culture of respect across the country and beyond.

Over 100 Italian municipalities will paint themselves orange in support of the campaign – saying “NO!” to gender-based violence and kicking out gender stereotyping for good. Orange has painted many previous revolutions, and is a direct rejection of pink as being the ‘girl’s colour’.

Each orange municipality has signed up to Terre des Hommes’ Indifesa manifesto, which demands that local authorities monitor violence against girls and the spread of harmful gender stereotypes, combats them when they emerge and acts to stop them taking root. The youngest girls must be given particular protection, and kids must be taught how harmful sexting, bullying and cyber-bullying can be.

Events marking the revolution will take place from Milan in the north to Palermo in the south, including Rome, Bari, Genoa, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Turin in between. People can also get involved online by changing their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram picture to anything orange, adding the #OrangeRevolution or #Indifesa hashtags.

The Indifesa manifesto can give such a complete view of the situation for girls in Italian schools as young people themselves carry out the research. Terre des Hommes teams up with the ScuolaZoo Observatory – young people who recently graduated from the school they research who talk to pupils about their situation. They collect honest, real life stories that no adult researcher who doesn’t know the children ever could.

It’s massively important that efforts to protect young girls from violence and exploitation are stepped up – both in Italy and across the globe.

More than two children a day are victims of sexual abuse in Italy – the vast majority being girls. Over 5,000 children were subjected to violence in 2016, the highest number in a decade. Every victim is one too many.

The global picture is just as bleak. Around the world over 120 million girls under 20 are forced into sexual acts, 15 million female children become child brides and 100,000 girls are traded like a commodity.

A revolution which places the protection of girls at its core and wipes away gender stereotypes forever is desperately needed. Today, we can provide the spark which sets it off.

The 2017 Indifesa dossier is the sixth edition of the campaign, which every year aims to ensure girls have access to education and healthcare and are protected from violence, discrimination and abuse around the world.

Picture: The Piazza De Ferrari in Genoa is coloured orange to symbolise the Orange Revolution, and to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child. Originally published here.

You can download it in English here