It was a very busy Fall for TELL and we are eager to update you on all that we have been doing here in the community. Our expanding team has been reaching more people than ever by providing workshops, face-to-face counselling and by continuing to have our crucial crisis support Lifeline and chat service.
As part of World Mental Health Day, TELL & together with Juri Watanabe (Miss Kyoto in this year's Miss World Japan competition), asked for people to be part of our #GiveHeartsforLife campaign. This campaign encouraged people around the country to write words of support and encouragement to those struggling with mental health issues using the hashtag#GiveHeartsforLife and to share these messages with TELL’s social media platforms (@telljapan) throughout the month of September & October.
TELL also celebrated Stress down week with workshops, yoga, and mindfulness activities, and in October around 200 people proudly walked with TELL in the Osaka Pride march, around 60 people marched with TELL and Stonewall in Kyushu. In November TELL made noise about domestic violence and child abuse survivors, men’s mental health and the importance of volunteers.
Our Fall 2019 support training had over 50 applications and 40 volunteers were accepted into the program. At the start of December 31 volunteers had graduated from the online portion of the training and are working through their protocols before taking shifts on our line. We hope in February/March to have around 120 - 130 volunteer support workers and to extend our chat service hours.
In December, TELL applauded Shiori Ito for helping to bring the #metoo movement to Japan. While her victory in the civil case against Noriyuki Yamaguchi is a major step in the right direction, we recognize that there is so much more work to be done in order to change the mindset around sexual violence toward women and girls.
One of the buzzwords of the year, #kutoo, resulted from the courage of Yumi Ishikawa to take a stand against the workplace norm here in Japan, when she questioned why women must wear heels. This is causing much of the accepted gender roles here to be looked at in a more critical way, and acknowledging that for women to have a place of equality in the workplace, they must not be forced to dress a certain way.
In 2019, Japan fell 11 places to 121st in global gender equality ranking, marking the lowest it has ever been and far below any of the other 7 major world economies. So while we continue to see positive news and individuals taking on the fight for women, we know it is not nearly enough.
At TELL, we believe that there is a more pressing need than ever before to provide an outlet and support for all of the brave individuals and groups fighting to stop sexual violence toward women in Japan, and to bring women to a place of equality in society. We hope you will consider supporting our project and work in Japan.
Your donations matter and can make a real difference in the lives of women who have been the victims of sexual assault. Will you help us?