Lost Boys of the 21st Century
The Lost Boys of the 21st Century is a unique and innovative solution developed by the 1st NAEF to address a critical and highly dangerous gap in in the recovery, rehabilitation, and re-integration of young male victims of gender-based violence.
“[The Lost Boys] are victims who suffer in silence… they too experience health complications, such as physical injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, psychological stress and trauma.” – Zainab Bangura, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, 2013
Young males (8-16 years of age) rescued and recovered from ISIS captivity and indoctrination are not being recognized, or being treated appropriately, as victims of violence or sexual violence in conflict. They have also been radicalized and indoctrinated into violent extremism and intolerance by their captors.
They are being excluded from available treatments necessary for their recovery because of their gender and a pervasive flaw in global narratives surrounding victims. The programs offered, that they so desperately need, were said to be not for them – these services were designed and implemented to specifically help women and girls.
The consequence of not recognizing or treating these ‘Lost Boys’ should be clear. Within 5 to 10 years, we will most likely be fighting many of them, as they are at very high risk of becoming the next generation of violent perpetrators and/or extremists.
We need to take immediate action. We are years behind already.
To break the cycle of violence and protect the vulnerable. We want to be a catalyst and guiding light towards achieving gender-inclusive, but also gender-specific, treatment, education, de-radicalization, and re-integration of ALL victims of violence and sexual violence in conflict.
We are gender-neutral and non-partisan. We believe that all victims of gender-based violence should have dedicated gender-specific care and recovery programs, to help them overcome their traumas and rebuild their lives. We want to help ensure that humanitarian aid and development programs do not impart gender bias directly or indirectly.
The Lost Boys of the 21st Century is a multi-level education, rehabilitation, de-radicalization, and re-integration program for young male victims of violence and sexual violence in conflict.
The Program will specifically address the critical gaps failing the Lost Boys of ISIS and gender-based violence with three inter-related initiatives:
Leading a global awareness campaign to a) highlight the plight of the Lost Boys of the 21st Century, and b) reduce gender bias in the treatment and care of victims of gender-based violence. We advocate gender-inclusive and gender-specific care and treatment of all victims of violence and sexual violence in conflict.
Developing a flagship recovery and de-radicalization center – including live-in accommodation, education, medical, and recreational facilities – in Kurdistan Iraq to treat Yezidi young male victims (8-16 years of age) of ISIS captivity.
Undertaking a knowledge-building outreach initiative, to share our best practice insights, recommendations, and solutions framework with other treatment centers and practitioners.
KEY BENEFITS FROM THE PROGRAM
The program is designed to help break the cycle of violence and protect the vulnerable. It will:
Provide quality education;
Address areas of psychological and medical care of young male victims of gender-based violence treat their physical and mental wounds;
De-radicalize young males at very high risk of continuing the cycles of violence;
Enable effective community re-integration;
Lead to global peer engagement;
Provide leadership development and youth empowerment;
Lead the cause to reduce gender bias in the treatment of all victims of violence or sexual violence in conflict.
The Program can also be adapted to accommodate other conflict regions, and is scalable in duration and size.
The initial beneficiaries of the program will be the most vulnerable and under-served among the target population, specifically youth male victims 8-16. Once program delivery has been established youth female victims will be added for inclusive program impacts and gender equality in application.