This first International Day of the Girl was created to put a spotlight on issues "that girls experience simply because they are girls". Today, our thoughts are with all the girls in women's shelters and in their homes throughout the province who are experiencing or escaping domestic violence.
Alberta shelter data from the past year reveals that at least 2,409 females under the age of 18 accessed emergency and second-stage women's shelters. Some as the primary victim, many as dependents of the primary victim. "This is an extremely conservative number, due to data collection restraints," says Carolyn Goard, Director of Member Programs and Services. "The actual number of females under 18 that shelters see living with domestic violence is much higher."
The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters has developed multiple children's programs including Helping Hands, The Children's Project, and Children Exposed to Family Violence, all of which help girls (and boys) deal with some of the trauma involved with being exposed to violence.
Give thought to all the girls in Alberta who are being abused today or who are fleeing abuse they have experienced with their mothers. The strength and courage of these females to seek futures free from violence and break the cycle should be celebrated.
Who and Where: The UN created this new International Day of… last December.
When: The event occurs every October 11.
Why: Raise awareness about girls' achievements, aspects of their lives where challenges exist and how to address these challenges so girls worldwide can reach their full potential.
Christie Lavan, Communications & Partnerships Advisor