© UNICEF/UNI195868/Blundell

An open letter from 18 young survivors of violence

We have been raped, beaten and attacked in our own communities. Memories like these make our bellies burn with fear.

Dear World Leaders,

Every five minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies as a result of violence.

We are young people from 18 different countries; survivors of violence who have experienced pain and abuse.
 
There are millions of children just like us.

We have been forced to flee our homes, fight as child soldiers and work as domestic slaves. We have been raped, beaten and attacked in our own communities.  We have watched, powerless, as our parents, siblings and friends were murdered in front of us. Memories like these make our bellies burn with fear.
 
No child should start their life like this.

Magu, 17, from Spain, is a survivor of sexual abuse. She was only able to talk about her experiences two years ago, after years of suffering. “Every time I tried to talk about it to my mother, the words got stuck in my throat, and I couldn’t do it. … If anyone would look at me … I’d wish that they would realise what was happening." © UNICEF/UNI195859/Imperato

 
“It was the thing that I wanted most in the world — for someone to come into my room without saying anything, hug me and tell me that everything would be OK.”
In September you will meet to agree new global development goals, a plan of action for the next 15 years. As young citizens of the world, we call on you to come together to build a safer world for children.
 
We hope that one day the only bruises on the skin of children will be the ones they get from playing in the playground.
 
You must act now to end violence against all children.
 
Do not wait another five minutes. Our lives depend on it.
 
Parwana* (20), Australia; Joao* (18), Brazil; Ravid (16), Cambodia; Laetitia (14) DRC; Sabreen (15) Gaza; Daldís (19), Iceland; Tommy* (16), Ireland; Ashley* (23), Jamaica; Mohammad (15), Jordan; Akhrat (16), Netherlands; Babagana* (12), Nigeria; Rabia* (9), Pakistan; Alice* (18), Portugal; Sane* (18), South Africa; Boto* (16), South Sudan; Magu* (17), Spain; Jodie (20), United Kingdom; Zina (10), Ukraine;
 
*names have been changed to protect their identity
Meet the survivors
9-year-old Zina shows off her drawing in Ukraine 9-year-old Zina shows off her drawing in Ukraine 9-year-old Zina shows off her drawing in Ukraine

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