Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

Girl Effect Right Here

Filed in Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Memoir, Stories, voices :: October 4, 2011

Remember this video from last year?  We still have a situation on our hands, and Tara Sophia Mohr has organized another Girl Effect Blogging Campaign.

Last year I focused on the situation for girls in the developing world.

This year, especially since learning that  according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, young women in the U.S. between 16 and 24 are at the greatest risk  for intimate partner violence-nearly three times the national average–I’m focusing on the situation all around me–the girl effect right here.

On this year’s Girl Effect Day, I will be speaking to young women at the Homestead Job Corps about intimate partner violence.

I’m going to tell them my story, which is not that different from theirs.

I’m going to share with them this Dating Bill of Rights:

        I have a right to:

  • Ask for a date
  • Refuse a date
  • Suggest activities
  • Refuse any activities, even if my date is excited about them
  • Have my own feelings and be able to express them
  • Say, “I think my friend is wrong and his actions are inappropriate”
  • Tell someone not to interrupt me
  • Have my limits and values respected
  • Tell my partner when I need affection
  • Refuse affection
  • Be heard
  • Refuse to lend money
  • Refuse sex any time, for any reason
  • Have friends and space aside from my partner.

This Dating Bill of Rights works for women of any age, but is especially important for young women who may be inexperienced, longing for “romance,” and confused about what romance is.

Much about the lives of the girls described in the Girl Effect video is determined by their experiences between the ages of 12 and 18, and dating violence works in much the same way. Young women who experience dating violence are also more likely to experience depression, alcoholism, eating disorders, and violence in their future relationships.

The girl effect is real.  It matters.

And I’ll tell girls today what I tell everyone who will listen: Tell your story.