If you’re seeing guys with painted finger nails appearing on your Instagram feed, it may be more than a sign that dudes are finally embracing the wonders of nail art. These colorful manicures may actually be part of #PolishedMan, an online campaign to raise awareness of child abuse. The campaign encourages men all over the world to take a (brightly painted) hand in prevented child abuse by raising both awareness and much needed funds.
Elliot Costello, CEO of Australian nonprofit Ygap, launched #PolishedMan after a heartbreaking encounter with a young girl, named Thea, while visiting the Hagar International charity project in Cambodia. Costello and Thea played games together, and Thea painted his nails blue. It wasn’t until the next day that Costello learned about Thea’s history. According to the Polished Man website,
Thea’s mother chose to send her to an orphanage in hope that Thea would be granted a safe refuge following her father’s death. She was given anything but; at just eight years old, Thea was raped on a daily basis for two years by the orphanage carer – the very man who was meant to protect her.
Thea is not alone. UNICEF reports that an estimated one in five children experiences sexual or physical before they reach the age of 19. Thea’s story galvanized Costello to act. He told the Huffington Post, "It is important to acknowledge this is a global challenge. While most men don't perpetrate violence, 90% of sexual violence committed against children is perpetrated by men and we all have a responsibility to help change that."
A spokesman for the campaign told BuzzFeed,
By challenging men, we empower them as leaders and encourage them to become a part of the solution. Our hope is to create a global movement that will lead change in the conversation about what it means to be a man.
By painting their nails in support of #PolishedMan, participants give support to the movement and encourage public discussion of child abuse. They and their supporters can also raise money through the Polished Man website, which will go to organizations that seek to address the underlying causes of violence against children and provide emergency care. Local funds raised in the U.S. will be donated to the New York Center for Children.
The campaign, already underway, continues though October 15. Learn more about Polished Man and how to donate at the Polished Man website.