October 11 marks the International Day of the Girl, an initiative started in 2012 by the United Nations to acknowledge and spread awareness on critical issues impacting girls across the globe, like child marriage or malnutrition, and how to address these gendered problems. The theme for 2018 is “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce,” with year-long international efforts that seek to provide adolescent girls all over the world with the tools they need to carve out their professional paths. One of the biggest hurdles these girls will face, whether studying to obtain an education or entering the workforce, could be sexual violence, an issue Dominican-American artist Roxiny explores in her latest song, “Golden Prophet,” released on Thursday.
“She was so young when you burned her eyes, golden prophet size of a god. Can’t you see her? Like an angel, she’s fallen,” the 29-year-old Spain-raised, New York-based singer croons in the music video for the song, which showcases a diverse group of female dancers with inspiring handwritten messages for survivors of sexual violence in various languages on their bodies.
While enrollment rates for girls has increased all over the world, schools have sometimes become sites where these young people experience sexual, physical, emotional and mental violence. In the United States, where girls attend school at higher rates than boys, 76 percent of girls between the ages of 14 and 19 report feeling unsafe, and 69 percent say they feel they are seen as a sexual object. This isn’t unique to our country. In South Africa, where girls and boys share similar enrollment rates, girls experience high numbers of rape and sexual violence on campus. In Ghana, where girls are less likely to attend schools than boys, 26 percent of schoolgirls say they have experienced sexual abuse.
Even more, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a nonprofit organization advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research, when students fear violence in school, they are more likely to miss class or lose focus during lectures, putting them behind on coursework and less likely to succeed academically, ultimately impacting their job prospects and income.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Roxiny understands how violence can negatively impact all facets of a young girl’s life.
“It’s the one thing that I can honestly say has affected every aspect of my life. As with many survivors, it took me a long time to come to grips with it, let alone share it. It’s been a long road to recovery, and writing ‘Golden Prophet’ was just another stage in healing,” Roxiny told FIERCE.
A member of the Resistance Revival Chorus, Roxiny uses her talent and passion for music as a tool for social change, often advocating for women’s rights. With “Golden Prophet,” she hopes to spark much-needed conversations about child sexual violence and help survivors in their healing journeys.
“As a survivor, I know firsthand the strength it’s taken to break free and heal from the shame, humiliation, anger and pain caused by sexual abuse. Every one of us has had to fight a very solitary fight to hold our heads above water once again, and here we are in 2018 raising our voices to a system that emboldens leaders in spite of their numerous sexual allegations,” she said.
Watch Roxiny’s powerful video for “Golden Prophet” above and visit the United Nations website to learn how you can participate in the International Day of the Girl’s “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce” campaign.