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Girls battle unseen cycle of violence

MEGHAN IRONS raises an important point in “City tries to deter girls from violence” (Page A1, April 8). Violence among girls is a silent and devastating cancer to our families and communities. Violence manifests itself in different ways for girls than it does for boys. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, girls in Boston are more likely to be bullied at school, feel sad and hopeless, and inflict self-harm.

Additionally, sexual violence disproportionately affects females, and is inaccurately weighted in crime statistics: Only 54 percent of rapes are reported, and street harassment is culturally accepted and rarely documented.

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Victims of crime are more likely to become perpetrators later in life. Without a significant increase in funding for preventative services for girls now, we will see girls perpetuate this cycle of violence later.

Both boys and girls need safe spaces to discuss their problems and trusted adults who can teach and model non-violent conflict resolution. Interventions like these, supported by culturally competent, gender-sensitive dialogue, will help youths avoid violent behaviors — both the kinds that make headlines and the kinds that barely turn heads.

Deborah Re

Chief Executive Officer

Big Sister Association
of Greater Boston


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