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.

Cyntoia Brown Is Getting Back The Childhood She & So Many Young Black Girls Never Had

The cruel joke of being a poor black girl in the South is that you are grown before you ask to be, and your childhood slips away before you can spell. Black girls are not given the kindness that southern gentility cultivates for white girls who make a few bad choices. Instead, black women and girls like Cyntoia Brown are jailed, punished, and killed for trying to survive in a world in which they were never meant to last.

In 2006, at the age of 16, Brown was sentenced to life in prison as an adult for shooting and killing Johnny Allen. Brown testified in her appeals hearing that she had been abused, raped, and forced into survival sex work, and said she shot Allen in fear for her life when she thought he reached for a gun after he paid her for sex.

For the past 15 years, Brown was incarcerated in a Tennessee prison, but this January, news broke that she would be released in seven months after outgoing Republican Gov. Bill Haslam granted her a full commutation. She was officially released from prison Wednesday at age 31 and will serve 10 years of parole.

“At the crux of Cyntoia Brown’s story and her criminalization, we all can recognize that this baby does not belong in a cage at all and never did belong in a cage,” Brianna Baker, a teacher and the founder of Justice for Black Girls, tells Bustle. “She hasn’t had access to her girlhood for her entire life. Yes, we take the victory, but it’s bittersweet.”

Brown’s story is one of personal perseverance but also one of the power and strength of community organizing. The news of Brown’s commutation prompted a wail of relief from the black folks who have been on the frontlines of advocacy work around her case since 2011.

Read more at Bustle. 

Team GB’s only black swimmer: ‘I understand why girls would quit over their hair’

“I vividly remember a black girl saying at training that the reason black girls don’t swim is because of their hair.

“I was about 12 or 13 at the time and had never thought of the idea of hair stopping you from swimming. Now that I am older I can fully understand why someone would quit over their hair.”

Alice Dearing, a 22-year-old student at Loughborough University, is one of Great Britain’s top female marathon swimmers.

She’s also currently the only black swimmer on Team GB and is only the second to represent them in the water.

Read more at BBC. 

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. 

Girl Describes Conditions Inside Immigrant Detention Center

On the heels of reports regarding the conditions inside migrant detention facilities, Time posted a video interview with an anonymous 12-year-old girl who opened up about the nearly two weeks she spent in a center in Texas.

“They gave us little food,” the little girl sys of her time at the facility. “They didn’t bathe [the children]. They treated us badly where we were. They were mean to us.”

She goes on to say that many of the children fell ill and didn’t receive proper medical care. “They said they’d take them to hospitals, but they wouldn’t take them,” she explained.

Learn more at ColorLines

FRIDA Call for Proposals: Meaningful Teenage Girl and LGBTQA Youth Engagement

Call for Proposals – Internal Policies and Procedures for Meaningful Teenage Girl and LGBTQA Youth Engagement

Location: Flexible

Duration: 3 month contract

Application Deadline – July 7, 2019

Application here

ABOUT FRIDA

Founded in 2010, FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund is the only youth-led fund focused exclusively on supporting young feminist activism to advance social justice movements and agendas across the globe. We believe in thecollective power, expertise, and innovation of young feminist organizers to address root causes and structures of inequality in order to create lasting change in their communities. To this end, FRIDA:

  • Provides small flexible grants to fund initiatives led by girls, young women, trans* and intersex youth under 30 years old with small flexible grants for core support, selected through an annual participatory review process.

  • Offers opportunities for capacity development that are accessible and responsive to the needs of young feminist organizers, and based on linking and learning relationships that strengthen networks of young feminist activists within multigenerational movements;

  • Mobilizes resources from both traditional and non-traditional sources, with new and modern methods, to enhance the quality and quantity of funding for women’s human rights; and

  • Builds knowledge for advocacy to ensure financial and non-financial policies are inclusive and responsive to the priorities articulated by girls, young women, trans* and intersex youth.

POSITION BACKGROUND

Since the very first grantmaking cycle, FRIDA has been funding and supporting young feminist groups led by  or centered on teenage girl groups representing different identities and backgrounds. Overall FRIDA funded and supported around 95 girl-led, teenage LGBTQA or girls-centered groups.

At FRIDA we believe in the transforming power of girls and LGBTQA youth activists to fully participate in social justice movements. FRIDA promotes meaningful teenage girl and LGBTQA engagement in its governance and it ensures a representation of girl and LGBTQA expertise in the Advisory Committee. Advisors represented by teenage girls and LGBTQA youth bring their expertise and  perspectives to shape FRIDA’s support to girl led, LGBTQA youth and girl focused groups. They play a key role in advising on girl, LGBTQA issues, supporting with specific outreach in each region, participate in projects and represent FRIDA at advocacy and philanthropy events.

FRIDA is requesting proposals for a consultant who would support in reviewing existing meaningful teenage girl and LGBTQA engagement practices at FRIDA, especially from legal standpoints for safeguarding and recommend what gaps needs to be addressed.

MAIN ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Work closely with key staff members girl advisors, grantee partners and board members address any institutional risks, particularly safeguarding and other legal gaps. This will include development of relevant policies, protocols that might include child protection, ethical and labour code working with activists under 18 years old

  • Document and improve existing strategies and approaches to girl engagement, child participation, and child protection

  • Potentially develop girl and queer friendly information that is accessible and relevant to their contexts

  • Organize and deliver online webinars and if needed in-person trainings for FRIDA staff and FRIDA community

  • Advise on legal aspects of meaningful participation of activists under 18 years old in FRIDA’s governance, including Board, Advisory Committee

  • Advise on FRIDA’s grantmaking and document the actual legal process of awarding grants, transferring funds, and providing tailored support to girl-led groups.

  • Advise on FRIDA’s monitoring and evaluation, capacity building, advocacy when it comes to supporting teenage girls and LGBTQA youth participation.

KEY DELIVERABLES

1. An organizational audit of current policies and standards at FRIDA

2. Based on the audit, 2-3 most significant or urgent policies (new or revised) for work with teenage girls and LGBTIQ youth, these could include:

  • Ethical standards for working with minors
  • A whistleblower policy
  • A child protection policy
  • Safeguarding policy
  • Protocol related to labour laws re: to adolescents and how payment regulations look like for activists under 18

3. Train staff, advisors, board and wider FRIDA community in do no harm approaches (child protection policies etc)

REQUIRED SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS 

  • The ideal candidate will have experience in the development of child rights policies and guidelines working with activists under 18 years old.
  • Knowledge of international and regional child protection mechanisms and guidelines working with activists under 18 years old.

  • Experience in engaging /  being part of girl-led groups or building girl-adult partnerships.

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, familiarity with databases, information management systems and ability to maintain well organized and documented files.

  • Good interpersonal skills, with ability to network,  liaise in a multicultural environment; and work remotely.

  • Demonstrated commitment to supporting young feminist-led organizing, girls, women’s and LGBTQAI+ rights, youth issues.

  • Knowledge of community training, evaluation and documentation

  • Fluency in reading and writing in English.

DESIRABLE SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS 

  • Knowledge of Canadian laws (where FRIDA is legally registered) to ensure compliance and consistency of developed procedures

  • Experience in the Global South, at least in one of the five regions where FRIDA operates

  • Experience in building and maintaining participatory, inclusive and meaningful engagement with girl activists, groups and their communities, including parents.

  • Fluency in any of the following languages* (i.e. French, Arabic and Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese are desirable).

INITIAL BUDGET AND COMPENSATION

FRIDA has budgeted approximately 2000 USD for a three-month consultancy, but envisions that this could be a multi-phase project with additional budget. We appreciate hearing from the proposals’ thoughts on this.

HOW TO APPLY

Please submit your application on BambooHR. Link shared on FRIDA website.

1) Please send your Proposal, including estimated costs and timeline

2) Resume or CV

3) Two references

To learn more about FRIDA, please visit our website at http://youngfeministfund.org/.

To apply, please visit this website.

FRIDA encourages, promotes and supports diversity in all aspects of its work. Young women and trans youth under the age of 30 from the Global South are strongly encouraged to apply.

4 Ways to Stop White Violence Against Black Women and Girls

Earlier this month a white, male animal rights activist jumped on stage and removed Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-Calif.) microphone. Harris was mid-sentence in a conversation about the gender pay gap. Karine Jean-Pierre, another black woman, moved to block Harris and attempt to obtain the mic unsuccessfully from the protester.

Watching this scene as a black woman was terrifying yet familiar. This familiarity of being black, a woman, and unprotected momentarily superseded even my own political affiliations and commitment to direct action and organizing. Harris, at this moment, was yet another black woman who our society refuses to protect, respect, and regard.

Sadly, this disregard is an everyday reality for black women (trans and cis) and gender non-conforming people. We see it in the continued murder of black, trans women. It manifests in the skyrocketing suspension rates for black girls as early as pre-school. Our communities can palpate it through the disproportionately high maternal mortality rates for black women.

Read more at Sojourners Magazine

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.