Thursday, March 19, 2009

Conversation Recap for February 22, 2009

We welcomed a new participant today. This prompted a brief reprise of Conversation ideas and dreams, such as the need for the News Tribune to have a social justice column. (It doesn’t have one now.)

Today we heard Keith (S.) story. The Mexico chapter was the focus of the last time he was up, and today Alaska figured large.

One fascinating topic that emerged was the little-known consequences of WWII on the native peoples of the Aleutian islands. People interested in this may check out this site. That association helped publish a book on the topic (Kirtland, John C. and David F. Coffin, Jr. The Relocation and Internment of the Aleuts during World War II, Volumes I-IX. Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Anchorage, Alaska. 1981 and Kirtland, John C. A Case in Law and Equity for Compensation. Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Anchorage. 1981.). Also see this site. Strangely enough, the one dead link your notetaker found on that website was the one describing the Attu taken to Japan and made to work in mines.

Charhys led a discussion of domestic violence. Last week we looked at the topic in the home, and today’s focus was on domestic violence among and against teens. Violence is about power and control, and the point is to dominate the victim. Put-downs can qualify, for the persistent criticism works toward the same end.

For those wishing to recall some of the facts she went over, not recorded here, similar information and resources can be found here. Lots of information is available in .pdf form at this page.

We took a quiz that highlighted some facts about teens in relationships, with reference to violence.

As a note, we were given chocolates as a reward for getting quiz questions correct. We didn’t have to give them back if we got one wrong.

Charhys conducted a study of the relation between domestic violence in the home and in relationships, and getting involved in gangs. She found a strong relationship. It was typical for young women involved in gangs to report demands from men that signify a strong set of expectations—about women needing to be domestic, to serve men, to pay money. The also reported a strong set of expectations on the part of the men in their lives to be ‘ladylike’—to not use certain language, to not get too high, to be faithful, to never flirt, and so on. The young women also generally recognized that the attitudes were closely connected to males valuing their status.

Her study also found that young people, especially the women, do not have role models of good relationships and yet live under pervasive expectations to be in a relationship.

We discussed the availability of good data on the details of domestic violence. For those interested, a good starting point for data about domestic violence is the American Bar Associations Commission on Domestic Violence, here. More data on teens is available at this site. The DOJ report from 2006 on domestic violence of all types is here.

Another topic that emerged from the discussion, from participants with experience counseling young people, was that people have very little information about sex and relationships.

Of course, that is the focus of Charhys’ work at YWCA. Young folks simply need more information about relationships, about violence, about sex, and what they can do to respond to situations.

Several participants shared shared accounts of their own experiences, and people they have known, who have been in dangerous relationships.

Hey, PBS’s NOW ran a segment on their last show about sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. See it on their website.

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