It was encouraging to read the Rev. Eugene Rivers’ column on violence among girls
(“A Father’s Day Challenge,” June 14). He powerfully stated that we cannot accept
deaths or criminal involvement of our daughters as merely “the collateral damage of
our cultural decay.” Yet, I disagree with his description of the problem as well as its
Instead of blaming cultural decay on “unbridled sexuality,” we should give youth
complete information so they can make healthy, responsible decisions. Instead of
reinforcing cultural messages that girls should feel lovely and lovable, we should
ensure that every girl knows she is so much more than that: strong, smart, and capable.
And instead of providing six-day-a-week wraparound services that shield our girls from
their communities, we should teach them to become agents of change.
Our daughters cannot be named “defenseless” damsels in distress, and our sons
should not be expected to be heroic protectors. We need to enlist men to prevent
violence and abuse, not protect girls from problems. More importantly, we need to
empower girls to be part of the solution.
— Deborah Re, Boston
The writer is CEO of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.