Why the international community?
The Sensoa Flag System shows to be a necessary tool, considering that sexual coercion is a major problem. Globally as many as 20% of girls and 8% of boys are confronted with some form of sexual coercion. These numbers vary per country.
Professionals across Europe are dealing with the same difficulties identifying acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviour and finding the appropriate response in an ever-changing (online) society. The Flag System answers this specific issue in the Netherlands and Belgium. And even though it might need some adjustments to fit other settings and countries, the huge demand, and the results of our need assessment, make us believe there’s a place for this tool in other countries as well.
Internationally, organisations are also dealing with the same difficulties. We are all working towards a world in which people are free to make sexual and reproductive choices, respecting the rights of others, in supportive countries. And we are all working as non-commercial organisations mostly, or partly, funded by governments. We all need to apply for different grants to implement and change the world we’re living in.
Within the international community we share experiences on the needs and use of the Flag System in different European countries. But we go one step further than that. We believe together we are stronger and more capable.
In any country, professionals have to be aware of their own values and norms towards sexuality, in particular in respect of people with a different cultural background than their own. We all know people think differently about sexuality. It depends on our upbringing, worldview, life experience, etc. This applies for young people, parents and also for professionals. It might bring up questions like ‘How can I discuss sexual coercion with young people from a different cultural background?’ or ‘How can I discuss homosexuality in a context where this is forbidden?’ These questions are universal, and we are able to find similarities in these issues within our community of different countries.
The organisations within the international community will join forces to share knowledge and experience. And we’ll also share tools (culturally adapted materials or for example modifications of the Flag System due to the implementation in a specific setting, training manuals and more) and means (for example translations of the international website or manual).