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Take Back the Tech: Love Letters to End Violence Against Women from High School Students in Portland, Maine

The amazing young women in my Global Girls Group at a high school in Portland, Maine decided to join World Pulse in speaking out against gender based violence. A few girls completed the suggested activity of writing a "love" letter to someone, anyone out there to help end gender violence. Although all of us feel very strongly that men need to be sent a very strong message not to participate in anything that promotes violence against women, the young women in my group also felt strongly about sending messages of empowerment, love and acceptance to their own future daughters. Here are a few of the letters they wrote in their own beautiful and honest voices.

The following letter is written by Belyse Ndayikunda, High School Student in Portland, Maine from Burundi, Africa

To my future daughter,

I love you even before I haven't seen you, or don't know if you'll exist one day! A day will come, and you'll have to face this world. One of the things that I want to tell you is that I don't want you to be sexually abused. People in the society think that we (women) are weak, fragile, emotional (which sometimes we can be) but it doesn't mean that they've the right to treat us as they want, to abuse our fragility. You'll have to be educated, being strong, smart and fight against anything that can hurt your heart.

As any human, you'll fall in love with a guy. You'll respect him, love him, but he also will have to do so to yourself if he really loves you. I think the way he'll treat you, talk to you in front of his friends, will show you if really he loves you or doesn't care. Never keep quiet if something goes wrong with your husband, because that could end your life.

You, my daughter, you deserve to be truly loved, well treated and as a young girl who knows really what she is, you'll shine and will be a guide for others.

-Belyse

The following letter is written by Sahra Ahmed, Somali High School Student in Portland, Maine

Hey Society,

Stop printing copies of magazines with people on them. Stop making negative connotations of groups. When you have all of these photoshopped girls on the covers of magazines, other girls think that that's what they need to look like to be accepted by society. Girls are getting diseases and disorders like anorexia, and guys too, so that they can change how their bodies look. When in fact they are already beautiful just the way they are. They shouldn't change themselves for anyone, but they are. That's why I would like you to stop. And when you put negative connotations on a group of people it makes the people in that group shunned by society and leads to suicide. I don't know about you, but I don't want to ever see someone take their life. Think about how it could be someone in your life. Please stop assuming before asking.

-Sahra Ahmed

The following letter is written by Claudia Nyinawumwami, High School Student in Portland, Maine from Burundi, Africa

Dear Future Daughter,

I know you will be independent, outgoing and smart. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something. You are a beautiful human with perfect imperfections. The world I'm in today is a rough world for us women. We don't have a voice, we are discriminated and abused. I know your voice will make a change dear daughter. Talk about it to your friends. Don't let anyone abuse your rights. That beautiful face and body is not a punching bag. Don't be afraid to talk about it because you are scared of what people might think of you. Stand up and speak. Your voice counts.

-Claudia

Comments

karen w's picture

Letters

Dear Belyse, Sahra, and Claudia,

Your letters brought tears to my eyes. I am deeply moved by your commitment to justice and respect for women everywhere. By working together and speaking our truth loudly, we will end violence against women. Many small actions lead to big changes. Please continue to use your voices to bring peaceful change to the lives of women. We are strong when we are united.

Many Blessings of Peace,

Karen Wentworth

KAW

LeanaM's picture

Beautiful!

Thank you for sharing these powerful words.

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for your support and gratitude. It is deeply appreciated!

torilynnfox's picture

What wonderful young women!

Thank you for sharing. These are such beautiful and moving letters. I think everyone should read them to their daughters. I especially like the line "fight against anything that can hurt your heart." It is so important for young women to do. Encourage those young ladies to keep writing!

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I will share your thoughts and words with the wonderful girls in my group. :)

binapatel33's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing these letters with us. They touch on a variety of topics, and are very close to home. I have seen girls struggle with their weights b/c of the pressures and fake images set forth in magazines. Not only is it unhealthy, but almost systematically breaks down an individual!! Please keep sharing these letters.....

Bina

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Thank you so much Bina. I will definitely share your kind words of gratitude and understanding to the girls in group! :)

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

WOW! OUTSTANDING!

Dear Karly,

I wish I could be in the same room with you and all these terrific, passionate young women like Belsye, Sahra and Claudia, to kneel before you in gratitude!

These genuine expressions of caring and courage, strength and compassion, are powerful and moving.

May they be widely shared!

Karly, the whole project -- having these students join World Pulse to speak out for other young people -- is the best possible approach, I feel. Total involvement of the very segment of the population which is most affected and, because they are the future, can be the most effective.

So thank you, thank you.

I applaud you all!

With Admiration,

Sarah

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Sarah, Thank you for these beautiful words! I will share them with the girls as soon as I see them next week, and know they will appreciate your kind encouragement with all of their hearts. :)

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Yay!

Excellent ! I appreciate them -- and you -- with all my heart, too.

lydiagcallano's picture

Powerful letters!

Karly dearest, the three letters you shared resound anguish, pain and fear. I guess these feelings were wrought out of either their personal experiences, or of somebody else's abused life. Either way, he authors - Belyse, Sahra, and Claudia - have clearly sent the message across that women and girls are beautiful beings and no one should violate their rights to live peacefully, to become what they want to be, and to enjoy life. Thank you for sharing their thoughts!

Ma. Lydia G. Callano
Iloilo, Philippines
+63 33 3158137 or 5138830

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Thank you so much Lydia. :) Your empathy and compassion are truly appreciated. I will definitely share your words with the girls when I see them in a few days!

lydiagcallano's picture

Hug them 4 me 2

Thank you too, Karly for bridging us to these beautiful persons. Yes, tell them of my well wishes and prayers. Give them bear hugs for me too.

Ma. Lydia G. Callano
Iloilo, Philippines
+63 33 3158137 or 5138830

CamilaFMScialla's picture

Powerful!

Thank you Karly for sharing the beautiful letters these thoughtful young women have written. Their voices to speak out in so many ways to everyone about learning to love oneself first and ensuring that the self is taken care of. Sahra's letter also speaks powerfully of the impact of society and it's impact on girls (and boys). Thank you so much for presenting these letters.

Camila

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Hi Camila,

Thank you so much for your support and kind words. They mean a lot to all of us. I am so grateful their words have reached others, and thank you for expressing your gratitude. I will pass it on to the girls! ~Karly

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