NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid rising political tensions, young women from both the United States and Russia have found themselves connecting with one another around the violence that impacts their daily lives. In an effort to promote cross-cultural dialogue on the important topic of gender-based violence facing both Russian and American young women, in late 2014, Footage Foundation (www.footageyouth.org) created the Girl-talk-Girl project, which was awarded U.S. Department of State funding (see www.girltalkgirl.org)
Girl-talk-Girl brought together young women at-risk to gender-based violence in New York and St. Petersburg. The project raises awareness of violence across these different countries by creating a platform allowing the young women to spark dialogue and share their experiences.
The experiences shared took the form of short digital stories produced on mobile phones, using an application the young women themselves helped to redesign. Over several months the young women participating produced powerful and, sometimes, painful stories, which they shared with their Russian and American peers. The stories included violence within families, self-violence, harassment in public and at work, and more. Throughout the young women's cultural understanding, civic engagement, and awareness of gender-based violence grew. One participant noted:
Just seeing ... there is a girl that feels unsafe half way across the world when she walks home by herself. I feel that way too when I walk home at 2 in the morning sometimes... "Should I call somebody?" Somebody else has that moment too, and she is across the world, of a different race, of a different size, of a different culture, with different hair. We might be all different in all those ways, but we have the same thought pattern.
After stories were showcased online, and in an international Google event, the Girl-talk-Girl team and participants created a toolkit to help community leaders and educators better engage young women and men on important issues of violence and harassment. All of these compelling stories, and the free downloadable toolkit, are available on the Girl-talk-Girl website www.girltalkgirl.org. A selection of these stories will be included in a short documentary, available from Footage Foundation later this year.
Footage Foundation has received further funding from the U.S. Department of State to scale the project in both cities. For additional details contact Project Director Dr. Kristen Ali Eglinton at email@example.com.