Editor’s Note: This week we’ve been exploring what violence against women looks like in our community. This series was created by young people in the eastern Coachella Valley who wanted to share their experiences and uplift stories from the community. For this final story in the #callitwhatitis (Call It What It Is) series, Coachella Uninc. youth reporters asked each other, and their friends, to answer this single question, “How do we end violence against women?” Read their responses below.
We put an end to violence against women by bringing these conversations to center stage while at the same time creating a space for our communities to heal. All the encounters where women are subjected to violence cannot be dismissed. We need to deconstruct narratives of patriarchy that oppress our children’s upbringings and we need to empower young girls and women. Putting an end to violence against women starts with breaking the gender stereotypes at home, school, streets, our minds and everywhere in our daily lives. It’s a community effort that begins with us.
— Olivia Rodriguez
To end the cycle of violence against women we have to start educating men at a young age. We have to teach our boys to respect women. We have to help them understand that chores do not have to be divided based on genders. It is OK for a boy to do the dishes and it’s also alright for a woman to cut the grass. We also need our young girls to know that they are powerful and that their body belongs to them. Girls need to learn that they can be brave and that they do not need a prince to rescue them.
— Yanet Villicana
We can end violence against women by speaking up.
— Laura Rodriguez
Ending violence against women can happen in schools. Schools shouldn’t just avoid these problems and turn the other cheek. Boys get so much slack already and it makes them feel like they have the right to do anything. I’ve been catcalled at school, once when I was wearing a dress for ‘Dress for Success’ day. I had never felt as bad as I did that day and that experience has prevented me from now wearing dresses or skirts. We need to educate our young people and children about what’s right and wrong. If children see someone hurt someone else intentionally, they might believe that behavior it OK.
— Rosy Mendez
We need to make people aware, and make them understand, that women aren’t objects.
— Juan Espinoza
I think ending violence towards womxn is one of the greatest forms of liberation all womxn would know. Ending violence against womxn would mean being able to walk places without fear, to live without sexual assault and to end the normalization of catcalling or any form of it. Ending violence against womxn unfortunately might take longer than it should, but in order for it to end, we need education. We need to educate children and let them know this isn’t OK. We need to educate parents and tell them not to teach their children, or anyone, that violence is OK. We need to show people that violence is horrible and cruel. We need to let them know it’s not OK and it’ll never be OK.
— Juliana Taboada
Violence against women happens every day and it isn’t just physical violence. Verbal abuse or degrading and objectifying language are acts of violence too. We can end this cycle of injustice by treating women with respect. In our community, we need to listen to their stories so we don’t repeat them.
— Arturo Castellanos
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Coachella Uninc. Weighs In: It’s Not ‘Locker Room Talk,’ It’s Sexual Assault
I’m a Survivor, Let My Voice Be Heard
Catcalling Is Not a Compliment
Domestic Violence: It Can Happen to Anyone