Women around the world are handing over their bottles of nail polish to the men this month, saying, “I prefer a polished man.” For the third year in a row, Australian-based nonprofit YGAP is encouraging men to participate in a simple social media movement called Polished Man, by coloring one fingernail for the month of October to raise awareness and support for child victims of physical and sexual violence.
The idea to use nail polish came after YGAP's CEO, Elliot Costello, was traveling to Hagar International in Cambodia and met an 8-year-old named Thea. She told him her story—of how her father died and left her family with nothing; of the years she was sent to an orphanage; of the two years she was repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted by the western man who was supposed to take care of her. The day Costello sat down with the girl, she took his gentle hand and first, drew a heart, and then painted his fingernails blue. He became a polished man that day, and decided to paint one nail to always remember her.
Above: Chris Hemsworth, actor
Elliot Costello, founder of Polished Man.
Hear the moving story behind Costello's project.
Unfortunately, Thea's story is not unique. According to Polished Man's website, 1 in 5 children around the world suffer physical and/or sexual violence before the age of 18. Costello believes that with enough support, an end to violence will be achieved in our lifetime. “The power to stop this is on your hands,” Costello writes. “It starts with painting a fingernail. That nail leads to a conversation. That conversation inspires a donation. That donation allows for prevention and protection.”
Big names, such as Olympic Gold medalist Michael Klim, actors Chris Hemsworth and Tyler Blackburn, and photographer David Higgs are already “nailing it” on social media, and are helping to usher in over $280,000 in donations. All funds raised will be “channelled into trauma recovery and trauma prevention programs for children who have suffered or are at risk of suffering violence globally,” including the Australian Childhood Foundation, Hagar International, the New York Centre for Children, World Vision, and YGAP-supported entrepreneurial ventures combatting violence.
Check out a few of these world-class man-i-cures.
Michael Klim, Olympic Gold Medalist in Swimming
Anthony Selemidis, footballer and fitness model
All images via Polished Man.