Today, October 25th, is Orange Day – part of a UN sponsored campaign to end violence against women. Today in particular calls for safe spaces for women and girls (bolding mine):
Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces is an everyday occurrence for women and girls around the world and is a violation of women’s human rights. Women and girls experience various types of sexual violence in public spaces including sexual harassment, rape, and femicide. This violence may take place on the street, on public transport, in parks, in and around schools, places of employment, and other public spaces in urban and rural areas. Some cases are publicized and receive media and public attention, while most cases go unreported and unaddressed.
Violence and the fear of violence reduces women’s freedom of movement and rights to access education, work, recreation, and essential services, and can restrict their participation in political life. It also negatively affects their health and well-being. Despite these wide-ranging consequences, violence against women and girls in public spaces remains a neglected area, with few laws or policies in place to prevent and address it.
Thankfully, there are many organizations working toward reducing and eliminating the threat to safe public spaces for women and girls. Stop Street Harassment is an organization dedicated toward getting rid of street harassment and the culture that promotes it. I love their page on educating boys and men on how to stop this type of harassment. Speaking out and education is key – for this type of harassment and violence and for all others, especially when it affects children.
In this spirit, I want to share about an upcoming 48 Hours investigation into dating and “break up violence.”
Researchers estimate that one in three young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 has experienced some form of dating violence. “Of teenagers who are in abusive relationships, 3% will tell an authority figure, 6% will tell a family member, but 75% will tell a friend – that’s why we focus on kids,” former Middlesex County, Mass., District Attorney Gerry Leone tells 48 HOURS.
I was able to watch some clips of the upcoming show, “Loved to Death,” which delves into the death of Lauren Astley, a teen who was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Nathanial Fujita. In addition to detailing the circumstances surrounding Astley’s death, the show features several high school programs that work toward helping teens identify the signs of healthy and unhealthy dating relationships as well as dating violence.
Education is the key piece with all of these issues – whether it’s street harassment, dating violence, rape, etc… we need to put enough faith into our children that they can learn what is right and what is wrong, otherwise we are doing them a disservice. I’ve written before about how we must teach our sons not to rape, that we should not devalue them by saying they’re “too young” or even worse, “just a boy.” The same holds true for teaching our children about dating violence before it ends up in a tragedy like the one Lauren Astley faced.
“Loved to Death” airs October 26th at 10:00pm EST on CBS. Watch a preview on CBS.com.