About the Taskforce
The Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women serves as a vehicle for addressing the following two questions: 1. How will we galvanize attention to the devastating violence plaguing the lives of girls and young women? 2. How will we marshal the public/political will to end the violence?
The Taskforce was established in order to bring groups from across Chicago together to learn from one another, share strategies and best practices, & develop new and comprehensive models of responding to violence against girls.
Here is some information on the principles that guide our work…
We believe that girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of violence. If we are to make Chicago safer for girls and young women, we need to look at the complexities of the ways in which they experience violence. This website focuses, therefore, on several different forms of violence in young women’s lives, and points to their intersections.
We believe that marginalized groups of young women experience interlocking oppressions such as racism, ableism, homophobia, classism, along with sexism. These multiple forms of oppression contribute to the increased vulnerability of marginalized girls to violence. In order to adequately respond to violence in girls’ lives, we need to address these forms of oppression.
We believe in the resilience of young women. While the data on this website reveals the extent to which young women experience violence, the numbers alone cannot capture the strength of girls and young women to survive and thrive when given opportunities. We urge you to read the “Innovative Models” sections, to learn about programs that help support young women as survivors and help them to thrive.
We believe that solutions must be informed by the experiences of young women. For too long, advocates have developed youth programs without the input of young people themselves. We know that girls and young women who experience violence turn most often to their peers. Any solutions we develop, then, must have the input of young women. This requires us to shift our perspective of young women from victims to leaders.
Our work is primarily focused on ending violence against anyone who identifies as a girl or young woman. This means a recognition of the ways in which transgender young women experience violence. The high level of violence perpetrated against transgender youth is not reflected in the data that we were able to find, but an acknowledgement of that violence is reflected throughout this website, in particular in the words of advocates and organizers identifying the needs and issues facing young women and in the work of TWISTA, one of our featured groups.
The Taskforce also acknowledges that boys and young men in our society experience violence, and we are committed to partnering with other organizations to end all violence against youth. We encourage you to visit our resource page to find a link to the Something Is Wrong curriculum, focused on violence against youth more broadly. We have focused our work on girls and young women, because we recognize that girls and young women face unique forms of violence, and because this violence is often overlooked in the the general public discourse about young people.