What’s a Table Shower: Illicit Massage Businesses in CT & the U.S.

By Jillian Gilchrest, age 35

You’ve almost certainly heard about a seedy massage parlor, where men go to get a hand job or oral sex. But do you notice them? Better yet, do you question their existence? Illicit massage businesses are in communities throughout Connecticut and the country. It is estimated that at any one time there are 178 illicit massage businesses operating in Connecticut and at least 7,000 nationwide. Unlike a legitimate spa, illicit massage businesses violate numerous labor and tax laws and are hot beds for human trafficking. Continue reading

Desensitized by Statistics: Who in Four?

By Jillian Gilchrest, age 35

The woman to my left blots at her eyes, trying to stop her tears. I continue to talk, attempting to make eye contact with her, hoping I can convey my empathy with a look since I cannot with my words. I am presenting to eleven women who work at an OBGYN practice. As the training continues, two more women disclose their own abuse. I can tell that the women who work at this practice are close because they feel comfortable sharing their own experiences in front of their colleagues. That doesn’t happen too often. Continue reading

The Female Voice

By Isabel Fitzsimons, 11th Grade Student at the Watkinson School

A person’s voice is one of the most powerful tools, and weapons, that we as people, and especially women, have. It is not just the words themselves that are powerful, but the actions that they evoke.

Malala Yousafzai said, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” Every individual voice is important, powerful, and deserves to be heard. People say, what is not said is more important than what is said, so we must strive to talk about what is left unsaid. Those whose voices are silenced have the most to say, and we must let them speak, for they have been forced to be quiet for long enough. Women are not objects. They have a voice, and they deserve to be heard.

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Young Women and Inadequacy

By Catherine Banks, 11th Grade Student at Guilford High School

All people in the world face issues of their own.  Young women, however, battle much harder in certain aspects. Being in the social tornado of high school and the internet, the questioning state of finding themselves, and the ever changing, busy outside world, young women have many issues on their plate.  There is one issue in particular though, that is among the few which are vast struggles.  One of the most important issues facing young women today is inadequacy, and I see myself having an influence on this issue through several methods of motivation. Continue reading

Our Choice

By Nicole Nguyen, 11th Grade Student at Glastonbury High School

“What do you think makes a women want to have an abortion?” a female reporter asks Jim Buchy, a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives. As he realizes the nature of the question, Buchy pauses, his face scrunches up, and for a moment his eyes flick everywhere but at the female reporter as he struggles to find the words. “Well, there’s  probably a lot of reasons, I-I’m  not a woman,” he chuckles uncomfortably, “so I’m  thinkin’ now, if l’m a woman why would I want to get. .. ” He stumbles a bit more before admitting, “I don’t  know, it’s a question I’ve never even thought about.” Continue reading

Voices  Louder than Whistles

By Grace Gardner, 11th Grade Student at the Watkinson School 

I carry a whistle with me  wherever I go; it hangs shimmering on  my  keychain, beside my house key. In ninth grade, a fellow student laughed when he saw my whistle, playing with it in his  hands. Not understanding the significance of it, he asked “Why do you need a whistle?” I’m  sure he didn’t mean harm, but his  ignorance hurt. It introduced me  to the bitter world where women’s issues concerning safety are disregarded, muted, or worse: unnoticed. Not all of this came from one stinging laugh from a classmate, although, from then I became aware. I have since been exposed to the expansive fear, and the subsequent silence, that is practically forced upon women. Continue reading

Empowerment Through Dance

By Leia C. Ficks, 11th Grade Student at Farmington High School

I am an avid dancer. For almost every day as long as I can remember, I have put on dance shoes and gone to class at a studio near my home. I have also had the good fortune of living in Farmington and attending the Farmington public schools with mandatory art classes, and thus, have had near daily exposure to some form of artistic exercise. This has included, for example, chorus, band, ceramics and photography. For some who are either less fortunate or live in less affluent communities, these artistic opportunities are lacking or are simply not available. The arts are critical to the physical, spiritual and emotional development and maturation of young girls. Countries that consistently rank among the highest in testing for math and science such as Japan, Hungary and the Netherlands have mandatory art programs.

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Women Pursuing Potential, Promise, and Purpose in the 21st Century

By Kate Ruberti, 11th Grade Student at Sacred Heart High School

1848: First women’s rights movement. 1920: 19th Amendment was added to the United States constitution granting women the right to vote. Before and during the 18th century, women were not valued as equal to men, and were not provided with, or offered the same opportunities and experiences. There were many women who were avid and determined to create tremendous strides in achieving equality for women, and accordingly, there have been great gains and changes over the years. However, I still do not believe there has been enough change. Continue reading

A New Knee, A New Me

By April Lichtman, 11th Grade Student at Joel Barlow High School

My grandmother, mother and sister are the strongest women in my life. I have seen all three of them undergo different forms of knee surgery, which put them in states of emotional distress and physical pain. My mother got a tibial osteotomy, a procedure where a piece of bone is removed to realign the bones because there is little cartilage between the femur and the tibia. My sister, a once victorious athlete, tore her ACL and cartilage. She had to get a ACL and MCL reconstruction during her freshman year. My grandmother eventually had trouble doing everyday tasks and had to get traditional knee replacement surgery because of constant pain and worn down cartilage. I have seen these women experience physical and emotional trauma following each procedure. Many hope for a future where these procedures have been modified to have simpler recovery processes, so that women similar to those in my family, won’t have to suffer after surgery. According to recent studies, scientists have concluded that if one removes chondrocytes from the nose cartilage and grows them into bone grafts, then the patient could possibly have more mobility in the long run. This new method is the superior to other techniques and will ensure that patients have a prosperous future. Continue reading

Today’s Digital Individualism

By Gabriella Kovalenko, 11th Grade Student at New Milford High School

In the impressionable early years of adulthood, young women encounter a domain of standards, beliefs, and moral obligations marked by the transition to independence. Among the newly discovered principles is the importance of a distinct identity, one not influenced by society but by one’s passions and personal outlook. Although “uniqueness” is a desirable characteristic in itself, it is apparent the young women of today are challenged by the ideal of individuality and are increasingly more likely to become engulfed in the face of conformity. Continue reading