Press Releases
August 6, 2004
Local Agencies Collaborate to Prevent Violence Against Girls
First bilingual Girl Empowerment Festival to be held along the border

LAREDO, Texas -- According to the State of the World Population 2000, report of the U.N. Population Fund, as many as 1 in 3 women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetime. Most violence against women is perpetrated by people they know, their family members, their spouses, their friends. Violence against women begins with violence against girls. Statistics also show that three out of every four child victims/survivors of violence are girls and adolescent girls are disproportionately the reported victims of rape (U.S, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1996).

In support of violence prevention efforts in Laredo, on August 6, 2004, the Laredo community will host its first Girl Empowerment Arts Festival, a bilingual gathering for girls and young women ages 12 – 22 that will address teen pregnancy, dating violence, sexual assault, body image, rape culture, and media literacy through art, poetry, and song.

State and local experts from agencies such as SCAN Inc., the Houston Area Women’s Center, the Austin-based Latina advocate agency Arte Sana, and student actors from the University of Texas at Austin will offer a variety of risk reduction workshops and presentations including: “Dating violence,” “Gender Respect, Body Image & the Media,” “Writing to Heal,” and “Acting for Social Change: Transformation through Peer Theatre.” La Frontera Shelter, Casa de Misericordia and Women of Destiny Ministries will also collaborate with survivor art installations that will help build awareness regarding violence against women.

This event was made possible thanks to the collaboration and support from the following entities: the Health and Human Service Commission; Catholic Social Services - La Frontera Shelter; Mercy/Casa de Misericordia; Women of Destiny; Gateway Community Health Center, Laredo Holiday Inn Civic Center, Mercy Ministries of Laredo, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, H.E. Butt Grocery Company, Roberta Morales - District Attorney's Office/Domestic Violence Unit, and the Webb Co Food Bank. Partial funding for this event was awarded to Arte Sana via a mini grant from the Texas Department of Health, Office of Border Health, Healthy Border 2010 Initiative.

About Arte Sana

Arte Sana (art heals) is a nationwide organization dedicated to helping underserved survivors of racial and gender-based violence. As a 501(c)3 non-profit group based in Austin, TX, Arte Sana promotes healing and empowerment through the arts and community education. Founded in 2001, Arte Sana believes that violence risk reduction programs and services must be culturally competent and linguistically appropriate and are committed to the value of indigenous leadership and collaboration sin fronteras (without borders).


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