Monday, March 31, 2008

Meeting the Needs of Girls in Massachusettes

“Adults should pay attention to how much they don’t know!”

This quote from an 8th grade Hispanic/Latina girl is from a new comprehensive report out of Worcester, Massachusetts sums up the viewpoints many girls have about individual adults. Her quote also speaks to something bigger. We don't know enough about what is going on with girls on the macro level-- there are so little comprehensive reports looking at the needs of girls. We should pay attention and start commissioning/funding/demanding the research.

This report--From Gaps to Opportunities: Meeting the Needs of girls in the Worcester Area fills that gap. I just received this in my in box yesterday and I'm looking forward to digging deep. At first blush-- I know its going to be good. Prepared by Kathryn Wheeler (founding ED of the Girls Coalition of Greater Boston) the work is comprehensive and is sure to be girl centered. Jessica Greenstone, co-writer of the report emailed that although the report is focused on the Central Mass region, many of the issues facing these girls are salient for a broader population.

We need more reports like this to help make the case for girls' programs and girls' needs. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few like head-- Girls Inc NYC produced a local report and the National Council for Research on Women produced a report more national in scope (although not as comprehensive in stats)

Let me know if you know of other work where girls are interviewed and stats are compiled on the needs of girls.

Read the United Way report here

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm WAMMING!!!!!!!!

Hey! I haven't been blogging (What's new?) but this weekend I have been WAMMING. I was incredibly thrilled and honored to speak on a panel on Battling Backlash with Jessica Valenti, Miriam Perez and Carmen Van Kerckhove. Read more about the panel at

I also have been learning a lot and am energized to improve the blog in lots o' good ways! Now I am on my way to a session on girls and gaming where I am going to play the WII!!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Protection-- it's not just for the over 18's and the married folks

Many people aren't aware that domestic violence laws only cover married folks or parents. Teens experiencing violence in relationships rarely turn to adults for help (see below) and they have no protection from the law. I first learned of this problem when attending a symposium led by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. Learn what you can do below-- Patti

Day One is advocating to increase the legal protection available to teenage and other victims of domestic violence in New York State. They are looking for orgs and individuals to sign onto the New York Statewide Coalition for Fair Access to Family Court and support the passage of New York State Senate Bill S.6783, which will expand the protection available to individuals in dating relationships, cohabitants and LGBTQ victims of relationship abuse.

The New York State Family Court Act restricts access to orders of protection (OPs) to individuals currently or formerly married, blood relations, or parents of the same child. As a result, individuals in dating relationships, cohabitants, LGBTQ partners and many elderly are excluded from the protection available in the civil courts. These groups must request OPs from the criminal court, a system constructed for punishment, not protection, where victims are not provided with attorneys and face a far higher standard of proof.

Most importantly for youth, the entry point for the criminal justice system is the police, and most young people will remain at risk rather than seek assistance from law enforcement. In one study, less than 3% of students reported relationship abuse to an authority figure.

As a result, youth and others lacking access to Family Court are less prone to come forward, face more challenges, and when they do choose to seek help are less likely to obtain protection from the legal system.

The Coalition will keep you apprised of activities related to the pending legislation, and action you and let you know how organization can get involved.

Contact Stephanie Nilva at for more info