During the 16 Days Campaign for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we decided to ask our members some tough but equally important questions about the role Guiders play (or can play) in stopping the violence. Below are some of the questions and responses that we received on Twitter and Facebook. To read the entire conversation, visit our storify.
What Girl Guide or non-Guiding activity have you enjoyed doing that directly helped build girls’ self-esteem?
Christy: “Duke of Ed expeditions with my students (I’m a Guider and a teacher).”
Julie: “Summer Camp! New peers & change to test independence. Saw an amazing change in my daughter.”
Is Girl Guides the right place to talk or teach about violence against women to girls?
Christy: “where better than in a group of all girls where respectful and trusting relationships have been developed?”
Jo: “Our rangers hosted a “take back the night” march and invited all branches to attend, sparks even came!”
In your opinion, is there any violence against women topic that is “off-limits” for programming or unit meetings?
Hailea: “I hope Girl Guides of Canada is creating any violence against women materials in conjunction organizations that already exist to deal with the problem- they have probably already researched what is appropriate for each age group and have materials already in use that have been validated and adjusted as necessary.
While things like sexual violence, and violence against women may make us moms and dads uncomfortable- especially when it is being taught to young girls- the fact is that there are probably many girls involved in sparks/brownies/ guides and up that have *already* been victims. Please don’t sugar coat things too much, because we need to empower women, including young women to speak out and stop the abuse.”
Lori: “Depends on the age group how you chose to word it. But no, I don’t think specific topics should be off limits. Terrible things exist in our world. Women and girls of all ages need to know that it’s wrong and that there is help for them if they find themselves in or witness to abusive situations.”
How would you answer these questions? Leave your reply in the comments section below.
If you are uncomfortable talking about a subject or don’t feel “qualified,” don’t be afraid to ask for help. We have had a speaker from our local women’s shelter in to talk to the girls (Sparks to Guides) and she was wonderful – and already had all of the information and support materials assembled, so we didn’t need to do that ourselves. We have also made “birthday boxes” for the shelter, which was a great jumping-off point for discussions about what the shelter is and why it is there.