Saint Mary's report show surprising IN statistics - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Saint Mary's report shows surprising IN statistics

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A team of faculty and students at Saint Mary's College have been working hard to compile the first comprehensive study of statewide trends on the well being of girls. The report "The Status Of Girls in Indiana" was released today and gathers statistics on girls between ages 10 and 19.

Saint Mary's President Carol Mooney says this was an important project for the college to take on. "It just seemed to me that, we're a woman serving institution. Girls become women. So we ought to be concerned about and understand what's going on with the girls who will be our future students."

Now the goal is to use the data to better serve girls in Indiana.

CEO of the North Central YWCA, Linda Baechle reviewed "The Status of Girls in Indiana" and says she is anxious to use the findings."Having that information is key to really making sure whatever you're doing, you're really meeting your target audience."

The report looks at the general well being of Indiana girls aged 10 to 19. "One of the things that jumped out at me was the rate of sexual victimization of girls that is just much, much, much higher than boys."

The report shows nearly half of Indiana girls over 13 have been sexually abused. The percentage of Indiana high school girls becoming rape victims is higher than national numbers. Another disheartening stat. "The report highlights a third of teenaged girls are going to school depressed everyday and that's really disturbing."

She says many of these facts point to a lack of self-esteem. "We certainly need to be doing more."

That's something Nicole Thomas sees as a mom. "They haven't been told what they really are you know? You really are smart, you really are funny! And I think that's where a lot of self esteem issues come from."

She lives in transitional housing at the YWCA and says while HER daughters have healthy self esteems, too many young girls are lacking. "I think those are the girls that will fall into, unfortunately, places they don't want to be."

That's why she says the YWCA is important. "There's no where else you can go to that's safe like this."

And now with tools like "The Status of Girls in Indiana" Baechle says they have better direction. "This is just more evidence to us that what we're doing is important and needed."

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