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