Jeannette Y. Pai-Espinosa and Jessie Domingo Salu co-wrote an op-ed describing the needs of girls and young women impacted by violence, childhood adversity and trauma and are involved with the juvenile justice system.
Raised by a single mother, Tanya was physically and emotionally abused by her on regular basis and was also repeatedly sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriends and male friends. In an effort to get help, Tanya told her mother about the sexual abuse but was told that it was her fault. To escape her life — the pain, betrayal and abuse, she continually ran away taking refuge on the streets. Eventually, she was picked up and detained for running away. In court, her mother told the judge that Tanya was incorrigible. She was placed in a secure juvenile detention facility and after being released she was returned to her mother.
Florence Crittenton Services of North Carolina was founded in 1903, celebrating our 110th Anniversary this year, 2013.
Today, October 23rd is Girls Justice Day and as it approached I kept thinking about the girls and young women who I have come to know over the last few years, who are or were involved with the Juvenile Justice system. Their stories are as diverse as they are, but one thing that remains constant is the way in which their early lives have been shaped for them by abuse, neglect, violence and the betrayal of their trust by the very people whose job it was to love and protect them. Their experiences are unthinkable to most of us and yet it is essential that we see them not as victims or “bad girls” but as courageous and resilient survivors that need support in order to heal.
Today, April 19, 2013, marks The National Crittenton Foundation’s 130th Anniversary. No doubt an anniversary is a time to celebrate a legacy, but more importantly it presents an opportunity to look forward grounded in the lessons of a rich history.
I’ve spoken out on behalf of the National Crittenton Foundation before and every time I do I feel so empowered. Being able to speak about my experiences, my struggles, my successes, and the support that shaped me allows me to continue to heal and continues to help me realize that all those experiences no longer have any power over me. I’m finally free.
When my husband and I met, he already had his bachelor’s degree and was working on his Master’s. As the first in his immediate family to graduate from college, he wanted to make a career out of helping other people make it to college. Of course, I found that very appealing.
We have a long history as advocates for young women and girls
Become a Crittenton Advocate for Change
- 135 Stories
- 135 Years
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
- BOLD Program
- Centering Girls in Systems Change
- Commercial Sex Trafficking
- Foster Care
- Girls at the Margin
- Guest Post
- In Solidarity We Rise
- In the Press
- Juvenile Justice
- National Girls Initiative
- Opportunities for Girls
- Press Release
- Two Generation Approaches
- Young Moms