If you see a man who has one of his fingernails polished, you might think it’s the latest trendy style or maybe that he’s making his own unique fashion statement. In fact, it’s something very different and a lot more serious. It’s all about raising awareness and money in the fight against the sexual abuse of children. Having one nail in five polished symbolizes the one-fifth of children who become victims of sexual violence.
The idea came to Elliot Costello when he was in Cambodia working for YGAP, an Australian organization that seeks to better women’s lives through entrepreneurship. He met a girl named Thea who trusted him enough to tell him a dark and disturbing secret. From the ages of 8 to 10, she had been sexually abused by a man. While she was confiding in him, she asked if he could paint his fingernails. He agreed and after his nails were done, vowed that he would always keep one of them painted in her honor.
Subsequently, Costello learned that 96% of sexual violence suffered by children is committed by men. Remembering Thea’s story, he established a movement called Polished Man. His aim was to persuade men to become activists, raising awareness of the problem. One polished nail might start a conversation. Costello hopes to create a community of men who will combat sexual violence by fighting for children’s rights and raising money to help survivors. Above all, he’d like to see men become positive role models and change pervasive violence in both behavior and language.
In the video we’ve posted below, you’ll see Costello describe how Thea’s experience turned him into an activist, determined to help protect children all over the world.
What are your thoughts on Elliot Costello’s efforts to spread awareness of this important issue? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments at Facebook. Be sure to get the word out by liking and sharing.