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YWCA Youth Discuss Solutions to Gender-Based Violence

By Aisha Wright, YWCA Minneapolis Beacon Program Coordinator
October 23, 2018
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According to the Biden Foundation, 80 percent of sexual assault victims experienced their first assault before they were 25. But while teens and young adults face the highest rates of domestic and sexual violence, they are rarely tapped to identify solutions to this problem.

Partnering with the Biden Foundation

Youth LEADS (Leverage, Energize, and Define Solutions) is a Biden Foundation initiative to combat gender-based violence among youth by providing young leaders with the platforms, network and organizational support they need to create change.

Youth Driving Solutions for Change

Last month, the Biden Foundation’s Youth LEADS group came to Minnesota to facilitate a listening session about dating violence. The goal of the Youth LEADS listening sessions is to engage in open conversations with youth to identify trends, barriers and gaps in their community that perpetuates cycles of violence. Youth LEADS looks to youth to drive the solutions for changing the culture and ending gender-based violence in their community.

Girls from YWCA Minneapolis Beacons Learning Center at Franklin Middle School attended the session. The goal was to have 15 to 20 girls attend the focus group, but there were a total of 23 young girls that made it!

Girls Discussing Dating Violence

This group of girls started off with an icebreaker. From there, the girls had dinner and sat together to talk with other young people. The facilitators introduced themselves and began by asking the girls what they think dating violence is. The girls started talking about friends and family members and what they have seen in different situations.

Welcoming, Engaging Dialogue

The atmosphere in the room with girls was welcoming and calming. Most of the girls were not shy and just jumped right into the discussion. I thought it was going to be a bit difficult because they did not know each other, but everyone opened up and had a good conversation.

The night was filled with tons of energy, heart touching, relatable discussion on hard topics about dating violence and abuse. The discussion and the survey that the girls completed will contribute to a final report released by the Biden Foundation. Special thanks to all the girls who came out to be part of this project!

Learn more about YWCA Girls & Youth Programs