My Sister’s Keeper slated for SBVC August 4
By Dianne Anderson
Through years working her street ministry, Rev. Bronica Martindale Taylor has seen how women dealing with substance abuse are at greater risk of sexual assault and domestic violence.
On the other side of sexual violence, she said there are the date rape drugs, or young men who fail to see the situation as rape.
“Some males, when they talk candidly will say, oh she wanted it. Or, she wanted to get high,” Martindale said.
But events like the upcoming My Sisters’ Keeper are slowly changing attitudes, creating awareness as more young women learn about self-respect.
“Lately, I am seeing more women expressing that they don’t want to be abused anymore, I think now it’s coming around that girls want to be more conscious,” said Martindale-Taylor, an advisor to the Young women’s Empowerment Foundation.
On Saturday, August 4, My Sister’s Keeper will cover hard conversations about sexual assault and domestic violence. The free educational forum, hosted by Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation, is for girls 13-19 years, and runs from 8 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at San Bernardino Valley College.
“After the onset of the Me Too initiative, it was quite alarming that many were older leaving the question to ponder how well have we equiped young ladies on what to identify when it comes to sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Gwendolyn (Gwen) Dowdy-Rodgers, founder and CEO of the Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation.
Dowdy-Rodgers said young women must recognize the signs of their sisters and friends that are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
She said one YWE teen scholar is now home for the summer and expressed how important it is for college-age women to be aware because there is so little preparation within her age group.
YWE programming also caught the attention of Sen. Connie Leyva, who has authored related legislation and is a champion of the cause.
“She contacted us to be in attendance to address the young ladies at the event. We are also happy to have partners like Arrowhead United Way’s Women’s United who will provide every young lady with a backpack, and we are grateful for the continued partnership with San Bernardino Valley College who is providing the venue and breakfast for the attendees,” Dowdy-Rodgers said.
Last month, the CDC came out with its survey of 3.8 million students offering a snapshot of those at high risk of sex, drugs, and violence. The survey found that one in ten females reported they were forced to have sex. Suicide attempts among Black females were disproportionately high at 12.5 percent.
A 2014 study by President Obama’s Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault indicated that 13.7% of undergraduate women suffered at least one completed sexual assault since entering college, and 4.7% were victims of physically forced sexual assault. The study shows that nearly 8% of women were sexually assaulted when they were incapacitated after voluntarily consuming drugs and/or alcohol.
Street Positive CEO Terry Boykins regularly outreaches to young men and young fathers with services and ways to talk to their own sons and daughters about rape and violence.
He is also gearing up for his annual Million Father March on September 15 to be held at Fiesta Village Family Fun Park in Colton. Proceeds from all-day passes benefit fatherhood engagement programs to prevent domestic violence.
Boykins said a number of motivators behind domestic violence and sexual assault needs to be addressed for prevention on both sides, for male and female. He said fathers must learn to communicate openly with their daughters about self-protection, and not put themselves in unsafe or compromising environments.
Some studies show connections between high-risk violence, domestic violence or sexual assault to poverty and socio-economics, but there are other contributing factors, he said. In the Black community, young men may be desensitized by unstoppable negative social influences, such as officer-involved shootings and abuse against Black men.
There is a risk of complacency.
“We’ve been okay with shooting and killing unarmed Black males. The violence in society and hostility also spreads. I don’t think we’ve done a good job as a society in expressing boundaries,” he said.
In sports, athletes and entertainers are promoted for their “bad boy” edge, which helps build their net worth in the process.
“To the guys, it’s I’m just doing my net worth,” he said. “We excuse this behavior and we don’t ask ourselves what provokes it.”
In reaching youth, he looks at what makes a victim or a perpetrator, and weaves the conversation into his series. Recently, he presented “Hands in your pockets, not behind your back,” in conjunction with a 100 Black Men event at Loyola Marymount University, and he was able to reach about 800 youth with the message of self-discipline.
He reminds the boys and young men that no means no.
“If she said no, or stop, the question is, is he comprehending all the signals?” Boykins said. “Or, is he saying she doesn’t really mean that [because] she told everyone that she likes me.”
For more information, http://www.youngwomenempowerment.org/ and www.streetpositive.com