Girl Scouts of the USA Proudly Co-Sponsors Girls National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week

February 5, 2006

Girl Scouts of the USA
Marion Swan
(212) 852-8012

Washington, D.C. — Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to be one of the co-sponsors of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week. We commend Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and California Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald for introducing a resolution designating Feb. 6-10 as National Teen Dating Violence Prevention Week and we are pleased to join with the U.S. Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Education, the American Bar Association, and our colleagues in other youth advocacy and domestic violence organizations to raise awareness about this serious issue.

As recent studies by the Girl Scout Research Institute have revealed, girls believe that both physical and emotional health are important. In Feeling Safe: What Girls Say, approximately 35% of teen girls say they are most concerned about "being attacked with a weapon" and “being forced to do something sexual." A 16-year-old says she feels unsafe when "someone I trust shows me that I was mistaken about them.” More recently, in our report The New Normal? What Girls Say About Healthy Living, 60% of girls say that emotional health is as important as physical health. Feeling that they fit in, that they get along with family and friends, and that they are doing well in school — these are the issues that make girls feel well-adjusted and healthy.

Girl Scouts believes all girls have a right to a life free from violence, whether in their relationships, homes, schools or communities. This includes safety for girls in their interactions on the Internet and through other technologies. Girl Scouts has developed and implemented strong violence prevention initiatives for girls. In addition to the numerous badges and patches girls can earn around safety and violence prevention, Girl Scouts of the USA also sponsors the P.A.V.E. the Way (Project Anti-Violence Education) initiative that has helped Girl Scouts educate girls about preventing violence in their lives through violence prevention and intervention projects. The initiative includes a series of age-appropriate books designed to help girls learn ways to better ensure their personal safety. Topics range from learning about situations that have potential dangers to addressing sensitive issues for older girls such as sexual harassment and dating violence. Two books in the series are written for adults and include topics such as state-mandated reporting laws, recognizing signs of physical abuse and mistreatment, and suggestions on leading activities for girls on the topic of staying safe.

We also are excited to spread the word about the new toolkit developed by youth involved in the American Bar Association's Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Initiative last year. The kit provides resources for teachers, administrators, students, parents and law enforcement to raise awareness about a problem that affects one out of three teenagers.

By addressing issues such as teen dating violence, we not only contribute to girls' emotional well-being and their ability to feel safe, we also support the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

For more information on the Girl Scout Research Institute and Girl Scout programming around this issue, visit our Research and Program sections.

About Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent organization for and leading authority on girls with 3.7 million girl and adult members. Now in its 93rd year, Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization strives to serve girls from every corner of the United States, as well as Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

GSUSA's Public Policy and Advocacy Office, located in Washington, D.C., educates representatives of the legislative and executive branches of federal, state and local government and advocates for public policy issues important to girls and Girl Scouting. For more information, call (202) 659-3780.