I never knew there was an entire month dedicated to Domestic Violence Awareness. What started as a “Day of Unity” in 1981 quickly evolved into an entire week of events, to what we now know as Domestic Violence Awareness month. I find it rather ironic that in school we all learn about the celebrations that education outlets think we must learn and celebrate. At 15, I became a victim of domestic violence, and at just a few months old, my own daughter was witnessing it firsthand. No one talked about domestic violence, and therefore I hid my embarrassment hindering me from the possibility of escaping the situation I had found myself in.
The National Crittenton Foundation (TNCF) has long shared the struggle that many face to define the depths of the challenges and the invisibility of marginalized girls and young women in the United States. This is crucial if we are to advance policies and programs that support the needs and potential of marginalized girls. TNCF believes that ACE brings the challenges they face to life through a simple ten-item survey and because everyone has an ACE score it enables us to relate to each other in that context.
The greatest privilege of my role as President of The National Crittenton Foundation is the opportunity to be led by young women and women whose journey as children began marked by the kind of exposure to violence and adversity that most would deem unimaginable. If seen in a movie you would think it is fiction and yet, it reflects the real life experience of many many girls in this land of opportunity.
The OJJDP-funded National Girls Initiative and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) convened a roundtable to discuss the unintended consequences of mandatory and pro-arrest policies for domestic violence on girls and young women. The purpose of the roundtable was to foster collaboration between juvenile justice advocates, advocates for girls, and advocates for victims of domestic violence.
Today, April 19, 2016, The National Crittenton Foundation (TNCF) celebrates our 133rd Anniversary. We pay tribute to the advocacy of Charles N. Crittenton opening Florence Night Mission, the first Crittenton home in 1883, as the beginning of the Crittenton social welfare movement dedicated to the needs and potential of the most marginalized girls, young women and women in communities across the country.
On Monday March 21, 2016 I spoke at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Meeting (UN), at the United Nation’s New York Headquarters. Me, the girl from downtown Charleston, SC, who at one time did not believe in herself enough to share her voice with anyone.
Sometimes I can’t believe this is life. I think it finally came together on a Saturday night when I was introducing BOLD to the folks at the 5th Annual National Crittenton Fundraiser in DC. It’s such a lovely event and being there put our last meetings in perspective:
We have a long history as advocates for young women and girls
- 135 Stories
- 135 Years
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
- BOLD Program
- Commercial Sex Trafficking
- Crittenton Family of Agencies
- Foster Care
- Girls at the Margin
- Guest Post
- Juvenile Justice
- National Girls Initiative
- Opportunities for Girls
- Two Generation Approaches
- Young Moms