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izvurvikilometurOn March 13th, in order to mark the International women’s day and the European action day against online sexist hate speech, the initiative “Walk a mile in her shoes” took place in Sofia. During the event, the campaign #облечисебе (Dress up) was also presented. 

Despite the cold and rainy weather, members of the youth panel of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Center, who came up with the hashtag and help with the realization of the campaign, along to go with experts from ARC Fund, introduced the campaign in front of the participants at the event. They carried out a number of surveys, which aimed to determine to what extent people recognize hate speech, whether they have come across it as a reaction towards provocative pictures, taken and uploaded by young people online, and whether they know other ways apart from insulting a person, in which this dangerous practice can be limited. The results showed that although not everyone has come across such provocative images, the majority of people recognize hate speech as a normalized reaction in such cases and are aware of its constant use by both younger and older people. Furthermore, the belief that kids and teenagers need to take provocative pictures in order to gather likes and be popular is false, in the opinion of our respondents. One of them shared that every child or teenager is special in his/hers own way and has qualities that many of his/hers peers would like to know about and like – this makes sharing sexualized images unnecessary, according to him.

After completing the short questionnaire, the participants took pictures with a board, on which they wrote their own message against hate speech and gender-based violence and received pens and rubber bracelets of the #облечисебе (Dress up) campaign and the Safer Internet Center.