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The central need, then, is to develop solutions that work for youth.
We have identified several issues that need to be addressed if we are to design programs that offer real support to young women.
GIRLS EXPERIENCE MULTIPLE, INTERSECTING FORMS OF VIOLENCE While the women’s movement of the 1970s recognized the intersection of the different forms of violence that women experience — for example, rape and domestic violence — state funding has long pushed organizations to silo their work and address only one particular form of violence.
This type of approach will not work for young women, who experience multiple and intersecting forms of violence.
The Taskforce has written about recent cases of young women who reported they had been sexually assaulted, received no systems support, were bullied at school for having made the report, and eventually committed suicide.
This is an example of these multiple forms of violence intersecting in young women’s lives, and we want to draw attention to the fact that the violence is both individual and systemic in nature.
Our solutions, then, need to address violence at all of these different levels.
A great example of an effort that recognizes this need is the work of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Policy Law around the Ensuring Success in Schools Initiative (see more here).
This legislative effort addresses teen pregnancy, teen dating violence and school safety as interrelated issues.
WE NEED TO ENGAGE YOUTH AS PEER SUPPORTERS: When youth leaders from the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team surveyed their peers in 2004 to ask who they turn to in cases of dating violence, they found that they were Less than one quarter of youth would consider turning to the court system for help.
You can read YWAT’s full report, The Real Deal, here.