As the Madeira team met to begin planning our club's annual women's week we thought to ourselves long and hard about Girl Up's advocacy challenge. The challenge called on our club to get out and get things done to create safe spaces for teenage girls in our community. Our high school being an all female institution seemed like the perfect place not only for this challenge but for the plan we were forming in our minds. We broke it down- how can we create safe spaces? When and where are we as females truly able to feel safe in a space? Then we came to realize true safety and security begins from within and so we realized the initiative our school is missing in our curriculum. We realized that we need to help our school come up with a curriculum for defense that would help every girl feel that they are always in a safe space. We need girls to have the tools to protect themselves should they need to as well as hold their own in the harsh world. Especially in the wake of societal fears surrounding sexual assault targeted at women we felt it would be important for students to have these skills instilled in them by a physical educator. We held discussions with our whole school about sexual assault and how, as women, we take on this issue as we go out into the world. With all this in mind, we proposed that our school incorporate a self defense class into the already required freshman 'student life' class and also mandate a session for outgoing seniors. This plan would allow for us to feel empowered and ready to thrive in the world. Women have so much power and this safety allows for us to fully realize that power. We proceeded to draw up our plan and formulate our petition on change.org that was very well received. In addition, our team got responses from our community members who spoke on their girl power and expressed an affirmation about their bodies being for them alone. We thought this video would be a good addition to our existing challenge and would raise more awareness within our community about issues women experience. Our primary goal was 50 signatures but we much exceeded it by getting over 200 signatures. We presented our plan to the administration and they were highly receptive. In the coming days, our club leaders look forward to meeting with our school's administrative leaders to finalize logistics of the classes!
Tarina and Lisa