We are writing to update you on our activism work and to ask for your help and support in our campaign to end domestic violence.
WE CHOSE THIS TOPIC BECAUSE
People are being hurt and killed, one in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. There are even some families in our community that this may affect and we don’t want this to affect us or anyone else. Our government is not doing enough to end this problem. When we look more deeply at this issue, we realize that it connects to other uprising movements such as #metoo and the movement to end gun violence.
SO FAR WE HAVE LEARNED
So far we have learned about how women turned the tide on domestic violence, the relationship between mass shootings and domestic violence and the loopholes in our laws that allow abusers to have guns such as the boyfriend loophole. In our healthy relationships workshop we learned about teen dating and communication. We also learned about the impact of domestic violence on children. By creating our own problem trees we learned about the role of gender norms, sexism or male supremacy, and entitlement as root causes of domestic violence. In other words we learn to behave like this and we can learn to behave differently. We also learned why this is a men’s issue and the important role men and boys have in solving it.
BASED ON WHAT WE’VE LEARNED SO FAR, OUR DEMANDS ARE
- More funding and awareness for domestic violence shelters and services
- Keep guns out of the hands of abusers
- Teach young people about healthy relationships
WHAT ELSE HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
We have been lucky to have some exciting guest speakers.
- Ana Raquel and her colleague from Sanctuary for Families came to present on Domestic Violence 101 and on healthy relationships. They had us watch a documentary that everyone loved called The Mask You Live In (available on Netflix).
- The boundary-breaking photographer Donna Ferrato, who took some of the first major photos about domestic violence and has been working on the issue for decades, visited us. Her book Living With the Enemy covers this topic and she launched the “I am Unbeatable” campaign that features and supports people who have left their abusers.
- Christina Swarns, former litigation director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, spoke to us about how she argued in front of the Supreme Court about a domestic violence case in which the man, who was guilty, was given the death penalty because the prosecutor argued that he was more likely to re-offend because he was black.
SOME FACTS AND IDEAS THAT STAND OUT TO US ARE:
- Someone is five times more likely to be murdered by their abusive spouse if there is a gun in the house
- One in 10 teenagers in New York City schools reports experiencing physical or sexual violence in a dating relationship within the past year.
- One in three teens report experiencing some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships, including verbal and emotional abuse.
- Every three months there are as many people killed in domestic violence as died in 9/11
- It’s not about blaming men but understanding and changing toxic gender roles
- As of 2014, males were four times more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts, representing 79 percent of all U.S. suicides. Firearms are the most common suicide method amongst men, while females commonly use poisoning. (Outdated gender roles harm men as well as women.)
- Hurt people hurt people—people who have been abused are more likely to
- One-tenth of men admitted to raping a woman or girl in one UNDP study
- One-third of women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime
As young people take the lead in changing our gun laws to end school shootings, let’s also remember that most of the people who committed mass shootings have also committed domestic violence. Keeping guns out of the hands of abusers will keep everyone safer and preventing domestic abuse will help prevent other forms of violence. That’s why we are so excited to change our gun laws in New York State. However, most of these forms of violence are committed by men, and so much violence happens in relationships. We have to think about how boys are raised, what ideas we pass on about masculinity and help young people develop healthy relationships. That’s why we’re excited to teach our peers and make sure other schools do so too.
Thank you in advance for your help as we work to change our laws, our culture, and our society. Let’s Shatter the Silence and Stop Domestic Violence.