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Boston Herald Letter to Editor June 20

Posted 06/25/2013

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Help girls help selves

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 solution.

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.