We often consider violence in adult or college age relationships, and we don’t consider youth 15 and under.

Back to school is an opportunity to highlight violence against girls and the actions we can take to support girls.

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1 in 3 youth (grade 9-10) report adolescent dating violence in Canada. The rates of violence are highest amongst marginalized youth, particularly those living in poverty, youth who identify as non-binary, racialized youth and new Canadian youth.

9

636,000 self-reported incidents of sexual assault every year in Canada. Of those self-reported sexual assaults, 47% were committed against young women & girls aged 15 – 24.

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Young women between the ages of 15 and 19 experience ten times more violence in relationships than young men, according to police-reported cases. This type of abuse is perpetrated by current or former boyfriends and girlfriends as well as in “other” intimate relationships

This poem and video is the successful result of the Youth in Philanthropy initiative taking place in schools in Metro Vancouver.

Zephyr and their classmates submitted the poem and video to a contest to raise funds for local charities. Their successful submission resulted in $5000 for BWSS.

 

I know a girl
Who flinches at high fives
She thinks that she’s a punching bag
With fight or flight, she freezes
A beating is easier when you give in

 

I know a girl
Who lives her life on high alert
If she makes a mistake, she is hurt
She is always on guard
Because he can always do something worse

 

I know a girl
Who watches her back
like her favourite TV show
Her eyes are glued to anything that moves
Bruises are mysterious,
but she hopes someone notices
Even if they did,
the world is not stronger than he is

 

I know a girl
Whose favourite colour used to be purple
She wore lavender and violet as symbols of joy
Until her face was splattered
with her favourite colour
And all the love she felt was destroyed

 

I know a girl
Whose thoughts are still controlled by him
She defends him because he owns her
How do you hate your own father?
When you’re scared the apple
doesn’t fall far from the tree

 

I know a girl
That is cut by his name
Vowels shoot like bullets in her brain
Each syllable reminds her what he did to her
He will never die when his actions still consume her mind

 

I know a girl
Whose been told to get over it so many times
She’s starting to believe she’s too emotional, she thinks her pain is whines

 

I know a girl
Who feels his hands like they’re still there
Burn marks in her skin that never seem to heal

 

I know a girl
Whose safety was never a right, it was a gift
Her body was never a right, it was a gift

 

I know a girl
That listens to manipulation like music
She’s spent so long being a victim she says it like her name

 

I am a girl
Who’s scared of everyone
that has the power to hurt me
My boyfriend is sweet, and he would never
But the expectation that the men before him built up is taller than he is

Trigger Warning: This video is a powerful poem that describes violence against a girl.

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