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United Against Bullying and Harassment #InHerCorner

By Christa Perkins, Director, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis
May 10, 2017
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Girls Inc #InHerCorner

Taking a Stand During Girls Inc. Week 2017

In the past year, 1 in 4 high school girls has been bullied on school property which negatively affects everyone involved – the victim, the harasser and the bystanders – as well as the learning environment. To address this pervasive problem, Girls Inc. has dedicated Girls Inc. Week 2017, May 8 – 12, to helping girls advocate for change and make our communities better places to live.

YWCA Minneapolis and Girls Inc.

YWCA Minneapolis is an affiliate of Girls Inc.—whose mission is “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold”.  This mission, paired with YWCA’s mission “to eliminate racism, empower women and girls and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all”, guides our girl-specific programming to equip girls to feel confident, understand their rights and believe in their ability to create the best possible future for themselves.

Bullying and Harassment Across the Country

Unfortunately, in schools, on the streets, in relationships and online, girls in communities across the country are experiencing bullying and harassment. In addition to sexual harassment, many girls experience discrimination based on their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion and more.

Nationally, Girls Inc. recently surveyed nearly 800 members of our network including girls and alumnae, parents, staff, board members and donors to determine the top challenges facing girls today. Sixty-seven percent of respondents identified “bullying, harassment and sexual violence” as an issue of concern to them. We can’t ignore this. This is a problem that affects us all.

Myths and Facts Around Bullying and Harassment

It is important we understand the facts and myths about bullying and harassment in order to effectively address this issue.

MYTH: Bullying is just “kids being kids” and we should stop making it such a big deal.

FACT: Bullying can cause lasting harm. Repeated or severe conduct based on sex or other protected categories is unlawful harassment.

MYTH: If it happens off school grounds, it’s not the school’s responsibility.

FACT: Under Title IX, schools have to address conduct they know or should know about that leads to a hostile environment or impedes a student’s ability to benefit from the educational program.

MYTH: Bullies are “problem kids” who have aggression issues and should be punished.

FACT: Actually, it is quite common for kids who bully to be victims themselves.

MYTH: Bullying will only stop if the victim stands up to the bully.

FACT: Just as society does not expect victims of other types of abuse to “deal with it on their own,” we should not expect this from victims of bullying or harassment.

Take the Pledge #InHerCorner

Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis encourages girls to be change agents within their communities, boldly advocating for themselves and others. It takes all of us coming together to ensure girls feel safe in their schools, communities and with their peers.

We encourage you to join the Girls Inc. National Pledge.

Together, we can put an end to bullying and harassment to create more inclusive, kind, safe and supportive schools and communities.

Take the Pledge