If You Really Knew Me

You have undoubtedly seen the recent news stories highlighting the prevalence and severity of bullying and violence among students within US schools. Its fair to say, no community is immune to this growing social problem.

Recently, MTV announced a new summer series called “If You Really Knew Me”, which documents students at schools around the country learning to value and appreciate each other through focused exercises and activities aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of one another.

The primary focus of the series is on bullying and not explicitly about dating violence. However, we know that bullying and dating violence have the same risk and protective factors. While primary prevention of intimate partner violence focuses on gender stereotypes and how rigid gender roles contribute to dating violence, it is important to spend time talking about how all stereotypes affect us and recognize that all forms of oppression contribute to violence within our society. Racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, classism all factor into how people may or may not treat one another.

Here are some questions to ponder: Where do the ideas and messages that make up stereotypes come from? How does it feel to be categorized or placed in a box that you don’t identify with?

Kudos to MTV for creating this series and showing how Challenge Day is one step in the process for true social change. You can view the trailer here.

“Abusers”, A New Intervention Reality Show

A new reality show will soon be hitting the airwaves called Abusers. The show will depict real life cases of domestic violence and offer support & services for both the victim and the abuser. Check out this blog post by Ms. Magazine on the show. What are your thoughts? Will this help dispel myths, or exasperate misconceptions?

‘UN Women’ Office Will Boost Global Effort for Gender Equality

Via Family Violence Prevention Fund:

The United Nations General Assembly created a new entity in July that is designed to boost the global campaign for gender equality.

In an historic vote on July 2, the general assembly voted unanimously to create the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women to accelerate efforts to combat sex discrimination, increase opportunities for women and girls, and even the playing field for the men and women worldwide.

The office will be referred to as UN Women and will open in January 2011.

It will house four previously distinct offices that existed within the United Nations system: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI); the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM); and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).

The decision to merge the offices came about after years of negotiations between the United Nations and global women’s rights advocates. “Through UN Women, we will be stronger in our mutual goal to end violence against women,” said UNIFEM Executive Director Ines Alberdi. The new office, she said, will help women’s rights advocates raise money and speak in a single, unified voice. It will be “more coherent, better positioned and resourced than the sum of its constituent parts.”

Learn more about UN Women.