I recently met Katie Simon, a senior at Concord Academy, and the founder of this amazing group called Minga. Minga is an organization focused on organizing youth to raise awareness about the child sex trade. Katie's opinion is that we have have an opportunity to educate youth so that they won't become the next generation of pimps and offenders. This year, they are reaching out to 5,000 youth through empowerment and awareness events. As is often the case, bringing voice and breaking silence on the issue is the most important action step we can take.
As we were talking, I thought about the connections she could make to others who are working on this important issue, and the related issues of sexual trauma and assault. Katie has the right idea – make sexual violence a part of the mainstream conversation and you can start to change the way we think about it. At the same time, I wonder whether there are other organizations out there doing similar work.
My hope is that people like Katie can connect to great organizations like the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, RAINN, and state coalitions against sexual violence. And unnatural allies in the corporate world and larger non-profit sector. There is a tremendous opportunity to work together to raise the profile of work to end sexual violence. It's too hard to work in silos – rape, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking. Instead, we need to find a way to work together. To create a new conversation about these issues that can stick.
In the meantime, if we can cultivate a generation of Katie Simons, imagine the kind of change we could bring to the world.