If we want to reduce sexual assault and dating violence among teens, it’s crucial to discuss why most victims are women and girls without creating gender divisions. Teen healthy relationship programs offer young people of all genders a safe space to discuss stereotypes, gender inequality, and the roots of violence.
It probably wouldn’t come up in a math, science, or English class. But during a workshop on gender dynamics, a boy in ninth grade opened up about something that was bothering him.
“He talked about how difficult hunting is for him,” says Erin Wynn, Coordinator of the Healthy Relationships for Youth program, which runs in 10 schools in rural Nova Scotia. “He said how terrible he feels that he has to be able to skin an animal and do these things that don’t come naturally to him.”