Young women discuss gender-based violence with hopes of a fix

About a dozen young women gathered recently to provide input for a “listening session” aimed at ending gender-based violence.

What they said can’t be revealed — their answers were private, and must be kept within the group, because of the sensitive subject — but ultimately, organizers of such sessions hope, the comments they made will be used to make cultural changes that can curb such cycles of violence.

YWCA Hamilton was one of 14 organizations across the country participating in the listening tour.

“Given this is domestic violence awareness month, it seems appropriate that we had this incredible opportunity to hear the voices of young women around gender-based violence,” said Wendy Waters-Connell, the YWCA’s executive director.

Waters-Connell was the official note-taker for the event, which was run by The Biden Foundation, named for former Vice President Joe Biden, who since passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 has made efforts to focus on solutions by soliciting opinions of those on the front lines of the issue, according to the foundation, which operated the listening sessions through its Youth LEADS (Leverage, Energize and Define Solutions) Campaign.

“YWCA Hamilton was proud to host the event with the Biden Foundation,” Waters-Connell said. “The young women were so engaged. They asked strong questions and provided honest feedback to the staff. We hope the information shared will help shape policy around gender based violence prevention and education.”

The foundation said it is interested in creating a broad conversation about what perpetuates cycles of violence, and, “It will be used to inform future Youth LEADS initiatives and build the capacity of organizations that work with youth.”

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