A girl's love of painting fingernails sparked a global movement against child abuse.

Elliot Costello met Thea in 2013 after she'd been rescued from two years of physical and sexual abuse in a Cambodian orphanage.

Thea ended up there after her father, the family's sole breadwinner, died. Losing her father wasn't just an emotional loss for the family — it was a financial one, too. His death meant that Thea's mother could no longer provide for Thea in the way she deserved.

When Elliot met Thea at Hagar International, a safe space for women and children who've survived abuse and exploitation, the language barrier meant they didn't say much to each other, but her story changed his life no less.


"What really should have been a safe passage was anything but,” Costello said of Thea's experiences in the orphanage. “It struck me."

Elliot Costello, CEO of YGAP. GIF via Polished Man project.

Unable to communicate with each other, the two ended up playing games instead.

At one point, Thea used a marker to color all over Costello's hands and fingernails. The lighthearted fun ended up sparking the idea for a global movement.

That's why actor Chris Hemsworth decided to paint one fingernail on Oct. 9, 2016 — to help give a voice to kids like Thea around the world.

Hemsworth is a proud supporter of the Polished Man project — an initiative launched by Costello, the CEO of YGAP, to end violence against children after the social entrepreneur's eye-opening experience with Thea in Cambodia.

"Being a [Polished Man] isn't just about remembering to buy flowers, how many rounds you shout, or how much you lift," Hemsworth wrote in the caption. "It's about saying no to violence against children."

Hemsworth, the most notable face to champion the cause, has elevated the campaign on a global scale.

The premise of Polished Man is pretty simple.

Guys are encouraged to sign up to get a profile on Polished Man's website, paint a fingernail that acts as a conversation starter, then direct supporters to their page to learn more and donate to the cause.

Funds raised for the campaign go toward programs run by various groups, like World Vision Australia and Hagar International, that help kids with trauma relief and prevent abuse for other young ones living at risk.

The campaign, which runs through October, is resonating with men everywhere: As of Oct. 10, the campaign had raised over $435,000.

According to the World Health Organization, an alarming 25% of all adults report being physically abused as a child. What's more, 1 in 13 men and 1 in 5 women say they were sexually abused as a kid. These are issues that silently affect far too many of us.

The campaign is targeting men because men are overwhelmingly responsible for sexual and physical violence against minors.

As the campaign notes, about 90% of all abusers of children around the world are men. So while women are certainly encouraged to speak up and donate to the Polished Man project, the initiative's pretty clear: Men, it's largely on us to prevent this atrocity from happening.

Hemsworth wants all of us — including some of his fellow A-listers — to step up to the plate for kids at home and around the globe.

In his Instagram post, Hemsworth asks his brother, actor Liam Hemsworth, along with Zac Efron, to join the campaign by also painting their fingernails. (The ball's in your court, guys).

But even if you don't have millions of Instagram followers, remember that your voice can make a difference ... one man-i-cure at a time.

Learn more about becoming a Polished Man and the realities of worldwide child abuse on the project's website.

When the "Me Too" movement exploded a few years ago, the ubiquitousness of women's sexual harassment and assault experiences became painfully clear. What hasn't always been as clear is role that less overt, more subtle creepiness plays in making women feel uncomfortable or unsafe as they move through the world, often starting from a young age.

Thankfully—and unfortunately—a viral video from a teen TikToker illustrates exactly what that looks like in real-time when a man came and sat down with her while she was doing a live video. He asked if the chair at her table was taken, and she said no, thinking he wanted to take it to another table. Instead, he sat down and started talking to her. You can see in her face and in her responses that she's weirded out, though she's trying not to appear rude or paranoid.

The teen said in a separate TikTok video that the man appeared to be in his 30s. Definitely too old to be pulling up a chair with someone so young who is sitting by herself, and definitely old enough to recognize that she was uncomfortable with the situation.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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