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Connecting The Dots ... #theWHYfactor

Back in the day there was a little brown skinned girl, a daughter of immigrants who believed in magic and potions and telepathically talking to animals ... she had a farce sparkle ... that dimmed over time.  She learned that her skin color was too dark to be pretty, that little girls were to be seen and not heard and that all the feelings she felt were just TOO much! Her light dimmed, she turned inwards, developed an eating disorder  ... and then turned to partying to cover up the depression and deep lack of self esteem.  She is so many young women. 

Once upon a time there was a little boy ... he loved taking care of his pet rabbit, drawing in his sketch pad until the wee hours and helping his mom in the kitchen.  And then he went to school, and he learned that boys need to be tough, they don't take care of things and that sports needed to be traded in for cooking ... but at least he still had drawing as an escape.  And so he did, escape into his world of anime ... he had fewer and fewer real life friends and was safe in his stories.  He is so many young men. 

The diagnoses is disconnection mainly due to patriarchy, white supremacy and capitalism.

The cure is both personal, interpersonal and systemic. 

I could spout statistics about how many instances of sexual harassment and assault on young girls goes unreported in schools, or tell you how often they are blamed, share statistics on the increasing rates of depression in young men ... and you already know about what that isolation and anger is leading too ... So instead of statistics I will just say that our culture is at a crossroads.  As an educator we are told not to bring politics into the classroom, for fear of ...

And that is where the work starts ... as Gloria Anzaldua says "I change myself, I change the world".

At The RealTalk Project we are particularly focused on ending Gender Based Violence such as sexual harrasment, domestic violence, rape culture and school shootings by way of creating spaces for courageous conversations in the Allyship for Men Project, Project Playground and Real Talk about Sex Ed. These spaces allow for the deep reflection, connection, practice and application needed for us to #BeTheChange

And for those that appreciate stats ... take a deep breath and scroll below.

NOTE: While the statistics focus on gender we deeply understand that BIPOC folks are disproportionately represented in all of these areas.  

In 2017, 13% of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 (or 3.2 million) said they had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, up from 8% (or 2 million) in 2007, according to a Pew Research Center study.

. . .

Teen boys may exhibit signs of aggression, irritability, open hostility, and anger as an outlet for the depressive disorder.

. . .

Six of the nine deadliest mass shootings in the United States since 2018 were by people who were 21 or younger, representing a shift for mass casualty shootings, which before 2000 were most often initiated by men in their mid-20s, 30s and 40s.

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The shootings come against a backdrop of a worsening adolescent mental health crisis, one that predated the pandemic but has been intensified by it. Much of the despair among teenagers and young adults has been inwardly directed, with soaring rates of self-harm and suicide.



Among girls in grades 7 to 12, one national study found that 56% of experienced sexual harassment at school, and the impact of this harassment on girls' well-being was often substantial with 22% reporting trouble sleeping and 37% not wanting to go to school as a result.

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Researchers found that many students were "dismissive of these experiences, even though they described them as very upsetting.  According to Dorothy L. Espelage, the study's lead investigator, "students failed to recognize the seriousness of these behaviors — in part because teachers and school officials failed to address them."

. . .

In 2017, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that 79% of public schools reported ZERO incidents of sexual harassment. The vast discrepancy between students and school administrations' reports of sexual harassment demonstrates how negligent most schools are in addressing this issue —  and such neglect sends a clear message to kids that harassment in a non-issue.

~A Mighty Girl~

29% of transgender youth, 16% of gay and lesbian youth and 11% of bisexual youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of cisgender youth.

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43% of transgender youth, 29% of gay or lesbian youth and 31% of bisexual youth have been bullied on school property, compared to 18% of cisgender youth.

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29% of transgender youth, 21% of gay and lesbian youth and 22% of bisexual youth have attempted suicide, compared to 7% of cisgender youth.

~ Human Rights Campaign~

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In 2021, More than 290 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced across 33 states in 2021, including more than 140 specifically anti-transgender bills.  25 bills were enacted, 13 of which targeted transgender youth

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In 2022 anti-equality legislators  have launched an unprecedented legislative assault on LGBTQ+ people in state legislatures across the country– surpassing 2021 as the worst year on record for introducing and enacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in statehouses across the country.

~ Human Rights Campaign~

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