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At every stage of education, sexual harassment is common, and often considered a rite of passage for young people. It’s not unusual for a girl to hear “Hey, Shorty!” on a daily basis, as she walks down the hall or comes into the school yard, followed by a sexual innuendo, insult, come-on, or assault. But when teenagers are asked whether they experience this in their own lives, most of them say it’s not happening.
Girls for Gender Equity, a nonprofit organization based in New York City, has developed a model for teens to teach one another about sexual harassment. How do you define it? How does it affect your self-esteem? What do you do in response? Why is it so normalized in schools, and how can we as a society begin to address these causes? Geared toward students, parents, teachers, policy makers, and activists, this book is an excellent model for building awareness and creating change in any community.
Hey, Shorty! is more than its subtitle suggests. It is not only about sexual harassment and violence in the schools and on the streets, it is a unique guide to youth community organizing.
The best part about this youth community organizing guide is that it has a nontraditional approach. Instead of using the “how-to” style, Smith, Van Deven, and Huppuch tell us the story of Girls for Gender Equity, Inc. as a successful organization actively making a change in their community.