I recently had the opportunity to watch Stephen Colbert’s interview of Malala Yousafzai from The Daily Show. Now this interview came out back in October 2013 and Malala has been shaking things up internationally since she was a young girl. Currently, Malala is only 16 years old and what is really fantastic is that she already has such a strong voice in support of education.
Malala is from the Swat District in Pakistan and while her efforts initially started in support of girls’ education, it rapidly evolved to include equal human rights for everyone, after suffering violence first hand by the Taliban. She advocated the unfortunate fact that “we don’t learn the importance of anything until it is snatched from our hands.” For her and many more that ‘thing’ is education. For countless others, that thing that is taken away is a feeling of safety in one’s relationship.
We know that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men in the United States are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. These statistics could be different and can change through education and prevention.
Education, at its core, is the most powerful tool that we have for the prevention of violence. As an agency we recognize this fact through our Community Education department and our Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (VIPP). Through these two outlets we educate our community on healthy relationships. Our curriculum also covers warning signs that help prevent a healthy relationship from becoming an unhealthy or abusive relationship. We saw and impacted 25,573 participants through Community Education and 687 through VIPP in 2013. We genuinely hope to see those numbers grow as the U.S. Census reported that there are an estimated 728,799 people living in Denton County.
However, this goal is only possible with your help. The fervor that Malala demonstrates for education is really the example that we should draw from for daily inspiration. If everyone in our community came together to bring awareness to what a healthy relationship looks like and the warning signs that lead to unhealthy relationships, violence would begin to virtually disappear from our lives.
While Malala was referring to women in her statement that education is power, this ideology can be directly applied to anyone regardless of gender, age, color, sexuality, etc. Education is THE power that we have to prevent violence. Education is power for us and our community to live violence-free lives!