During grad school, I worked part-time in a gift shop for extra money. I’ll never forget the day glamorous, model-esque bookkeeper Lucy came into work wearing dark Chanel sunglasses. I could tell something wasn’t right. “What’s going on?” I asked. Lucy lifted her sunglasses to reveal two black eyes. Thus began my crusade to help Lucy get out of her abusive relationship, which resulted in me picking up her and her suitcases on a dark corner at night, her boyfriend threatening to “beat the crap” out of me, and Lucy heading straight back to him eventually. This was my first but sadly not my last time seeing the destructive domestic violence cycle. It left me feeling angry and helpless, wishing there was something more I could do. In the UK, someone is doing something. Last week, the Equalities Minister announced a new Violence Against Women and Girls program, which will require that students as young as five get educated about domestic violence, violence against women, and how to have healthy relationships.
An excerpt from the curriculum: “Our vision is a society where women and girls feel safe and confident in their homes and communities so that they can develop fully, live freely, contribute to society, and prosper in their daily lives. We want to overcome women’s and girls’ fear of crime and the gender-based violence that they experience.”
I hope this program reduces violence against women and lives up to its Utopian mission statement. Obama … are you listening?