Half of black girls report being sexually coerced. There are ways we can help protect them.

All women have a difficult time proving sexual abuse, but for black women and girls, it can be nearly impossible. So they often suffer in silence and abuse goes unreported. The decision by some African American women not to report their sexual assaults may also be influenced by a criminal justice system that historically has treated European-American perpetrators and victims differently than perpetrators and victims of color.

According to National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, among students, 11.2% of black girls in a national high school sample reported they had been raped and 52% of a black Midwestern high school and college students reported sexual coercion.

The purpose of the #Metoo movement, founded by Tarana Burke, was to empower women of color living in underprivileged communities who had experienced sexual abuse. She created a hashtag for the voiceless. But this movement has become a catalyst for white Hollywood actresses. Moving far from its source, one seldom hears references to the founder or to black women in the mainstream #Metoo discussion

Read more at the Journal Sentinel.

Schools keep punishing girls who report sexual assaults, and the Trump administration’s Title IX reforms won’t stop it

Early in the morning on Nov. 7, 2017, a teacher noticed a 14-year-old girl crying in the hallway at Carol City High School in Miami-Dade County. The girl, who was later referred to in court papers as Jane Doe, reportedly told the teacher, “I think I was raped.”

Moments later, Doe went to the assistant principal’s office to tell administrators about the three boys who she said sexually assaulted her in a school bathroom. A school police officer questioned Doe, a Latina ninth-grader, and asked her to write a statement about what happened. Later that day, Carol City High administrators decided the event was consensual. They suspended Doe and the three accused boys for 10 days, noting that the students had violated rules against “inappropriate sexual behavior” on campus, according to the state attorney’s office.

“School is supposed to be a resourceful place, somewhere you can trust,” Jane Doe, now 16, told The 74. “That wasn’t what it turned out to be. It turned out to be somewhere where they just turned their backs against you.”

The scenario that played out at Carol City High mirrors cases around the country. A school in Piscataway, New Jersey, handed a 10-day suspension for “disorderly conduct” to a black girl who said she had been sexually assaulted on a bus. After a girl in Tucson, Arizona, said that she had been raped, the school district suspended her for “public sexual indecency.” A Brooklyn, New York, high school suspended a 15-year-old female black-Hispanic student “with well-documented developmental disabilities” who was sexually assaulted by a group of boys, according to the complaint, because administrators considered it “consensual sexual conduct on school premises.” At least one of the accused male students was later charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Read more at the LA School Report.

How Negative Perceptions At School Can Impact on Black Girls And Their Education

School is one of the most important early environments to foster future success in a child, and teachers play a huge part in crafting what their students’ future lives and careers will look like.

But when teachers play such an important role in guiding young and vulnerable mini-adults through the world, what happens when certain children aren’t given the same attention as their peers? When a child is seen as needing less nurture and support than their classmates, what kind of long-lasting impact can this have?

In 2017, Georgetown Law’s Centre on Poverty and Inequality released “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood“, a study that provided data showing that “adults view black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers, especially in the age range of 5-14.” Because of this, they are seen as needing “to be comforted less” and are assumed to know more about “adult topics”.

Read more at Refinery29.

4 in 5 black girls face trauma in Arkansas

According to a report from Delta Community Based Services, 56% of children in Arkansas experience some form of trauma before reaching adulthood. Some recover, but some inevitably experience negative effects well into adulthood.

Learn more at KHTV, CBS Arkansas. 

 

Cyntoia Brown and how the U.S. criminal justice system fails black women and girls

One of the things I love about being a professor is the chance to start over. Although I gripe about the end of summer, each new group of students offers fresh insights and challenges.

As I head back to campus this fall, I will be thinking of Cyntoia Brown.

Cyntoia Brown was 16 years old when she was charged as an adult and convicted of premeditated first-degree murder, felony murder and “especially aggravated robbery.” Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old man, had solicited Brown for sex and taken her to his home. Ms. Brown claimed that she had shot Mr. Allen in self-defense. In 2006, she was sentenced to concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole until she had served a minimum of 51 years.

As with other abused girls, Ms. Brown’s efforts to survive her conditions brought her into the “abuse to prison” pipeline that disproportionately affects girls of color. The abuse suffered by these girls leads to encounters with the criminal justice system, and this system treats them as perpetrators rather than as victims and survivors of abuse. Thus, rather than being sheltered, protected and provided with resources, girls who have been sexually and physically abused are criminalized for surviving their abuse.

Read more at America Magazine. 

Asian American Girls Can Have ADHD Too

You can tell I’m an Asian-American woman by looking at me. What’s not so obvious is my ADHD; even I didn’t know about it until this year because, in our American society, people who look like me are not “supposed” to have attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD).

I was not “supposed” to have ADHD as a girl; the ADHD stereotypemaintains that only boys who misbehave have ADHD. My elementary school teachers saw a shy girl who listened to directions. What they didn’t see was that I was trying so hard to keep track of what my teacher and classmates were saying in class that I didn’t have time to consider speaking up, so I defaulted to not talking at all. But at recess, I was so energetic and talkative that my friends often called me “hyper,” which I was.

Read more at AADitude Magazine

56 indigenous Washington women missing, new reports finds

The Seattle City Council on Wednesday heard testimony on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

The hearing came on the heels of months of controversy across the U.S. and Canada about failed data collection when it comes to these missing persons cases and murder investigations. On Tuesday, the Washington State Patrol released a 36-page report outlining its findings into missing girls and women.

The State Patrol found 56 women from Washington are missing, 12 from King County. Studies from across the U.S. and Canada put that figure into the thousands.

Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez called for the committee hearing to better understand data collection and to find out what political leaders and police can do to help.

Read more in KOMO News

Human trafficking largely targets Indigenous women and girls: MMIWG report

The daughter of a residential school survivor, she was placed into care at seven months, then at four adopted into a middle-class white household where she reckoned with racism and abuse.

“I was always being made aware of the colour of my skin and that it was a bad thing,” Wallace-Littlechief recalls. After standing up for herself at the age of 13, she was moved into a group home, where she was called Apple — “white on the inside and brown on the outside,” she says. She never felt accepted.

Wallace-Littlechief eventually ran away from the home. Within half an hour, she was drugged and raped, she said.

“I ended up in this home where they’re injecting me with drugs and fixing my hair and telling me how beautiful l am. They were grooming me and I soaked it up,” she said. “ I considered it love — that was the only love that I had ever experienced. They cared for me and I felt so privileged that these adults were wanting to be my friend and look after me.”

By the age of 14, she was working on the streets.

Read more at The Star Phoenix.

Why so many Latina teens in Philly have attempted suicide

A new report sheds light on a startling finding: Latina girls in Philadelphia are more likely than white or African-American girls to attempt suicide. One in seven has attempted suicide and one in five has seriously considered it. Why is this happening and why hasn’t this fact made its way into mainstream discourse about mental health?

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Aneri Pattani explains on this episode of The Why.

Listening to Black Women and Girls

Listening to Black Women and Girls: Lived Experiences of Adultification Bias

By JAMILIA J. BLAKE, PH.D. and REBECCA EPSTEIN, J.D.

In June 2017, the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality released Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, a report that presented the findings from our quantitative analysis of a form of gendered racial bias against Black girls: adultification.

This bias is a stereotype in which adults view Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers, devoid of any individualized context. In other words, adultification bias is not an evaluation of maturity based on observation of an individual girl’s behavior, but instead is a presumption — a typology applied generally to Black girls.

Help end adultification by sharing your own story here.

Watch a video on the subject here.

Read more at The Georgetown Law Center.