“Speak with Girls, Not for Them”

Supporting Girls’ Action Against Rape Culture

in Girlhood Studies
View More View Less
  • 1 McMaster University, Canada bernia1@mcmaster.ca
  • 2 Women's Centre of Calgary, Canada sarah@womenscentrecalgary.org
Restricted access

Abstract

Reflecting on our work with girls, we discuss what we have learned about how they experience rape culture and engage in activism to confront it. We explore how rape culture manifests in the lives of adolescent girls who are between 10 and 15 years of age in Calgary, Canada. We then demonstrate how groups of girls have moved from awareness to collective action meant to challenge rape culture and consider the impact that this action has had on them. Our aim is to show how popular education and feminist methodologies are effective in supporting girls’ activism on issues like rape culture so that others working in community with girls may gain new tools that might aid their work.

Contributor Notes

Alexe Bernier (ORCID 0000-0003-1322-804X) is a PhD student in the School of Social Work at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. She spent the last four years as a community social worker where she developed and coordinated programs with girls to engage in social change work in relation to issues that affect their lives. Email: bernia1@mcmaster.ca.

Sarah Winstanley (ORCID: 0000-0003-3920-4361) is an educator who has spent nine years working with girls. She led the creation of a range of girls’ activism programs at the Women's Centre of Calgary, and has also been a Girl Guide leader, an anti-violence organizer, and a social action network facilitator in London, UK. Email: sarah@womenscentrecalgary.org.

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

  • Alriksson-Schmidt, Ann I., Brian S. Armour, and Judy K. Thibadeau. 2010. “Are Adolescent Girls with a Physical Disability at Increased Risk for Sexual Violence?Journal of School Health 80 (7): 361367. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00514.x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Apell, Sara, Mauri Marttunen, Sari Fröjd, and Riittakerttu Kaltiala. 2019. “Experiences of Sexual Harassment are Associated with High Self-esteem and Social Anxiety among Adolescent Girls.” Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 73 (6): 365371. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08039488.2019.1640790

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, Lyn Mikel. 2011. “We're Taking Back Sexy: Girl Bloggers SPARK a Movement and Create Enabling Conditions for a Healthy Sexuality.” Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 4 (2): 4769. http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2011.040205

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, Lyn Mikel. 2016. Powered by Girl: A Field Guide for Supporting Youth Activists. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

  • Conroy, Shana, and Adam Cotter. 2017. Self-Reported Sexual Assault in Canada, 2014. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-002-X. Ottawa, ON. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/85-002-x/2017001/article/14842-eng.pdf?st=HRKmNKnQ.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CWF (Canadian Women's Foundation). 2014. Building Strong Girls: Girls’ Fund 2009–2012 Evaluation Report. Toronto, ON: Canadian Women's Foundation.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CWF (Canadian Women's Foundation). 2017. Fact Sheet: Moving Girls into Confidence. Toronto, ON: Canadian Women's Foundation.

  • CWGL (Centre for Women's Global Leadership). 2020. “About the Global 16 Days Campaign.” https://16dayscampaign.org/the-global-16-days-campaign/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Decker, Michele R., Anita Raj, and Jay G. Silverman. 2007. “Sexual Violence against Adolescent Girls: Influences of Immigration and Acculturation.” Violence Against Women 13 (5): 498513. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077801207300654

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Edell, Dana, Lyn Mikel Brown, and Deborah Tolman. 2013. “Embodying Sexualisation: When Theory Meets Practice in Intergenerational Feminist Activism.” Feminist Theory 14 (3): 275284. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1464700113499844.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FCSS (Family and Community Support Services). 2018. Program Impact Report. Calgary, AB: Family and Community Support Services.

  • Friere, Paolo. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.

  • Friedman, Jaclyn, and Jessica Valenti. 2008. Yes Means Yes! Visions of Sexual Power and a World without Rape. Berkeley: Seal Press.

  • Garcia, Chloe Krystyna, and Ayesha Vemuri. 2017. “Resisting Rape Culture through YouTube Videos.” Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 10 (2): 2644. http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2017.100204

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Giussy, Barbara, Federica Collini, Cristina Cattaneo, Federica Facchin, Paolo Vercellini, and Alessandra Kustermann. 2017. “Sexual Violence against Adolescent Girls: The Need for Shared Multidisciplinary Prevention Strategies.” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 124 (3): 434. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14409.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Glass, Juniper, and Lee Tunstall. 2013. Beyond Appearances: Brief on the Main Issues Facing Girls in Canada. Montreal: Girls Action Foundation.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hurlock, Debb. 2010. “All the Women are Weavers”: A Community Capacity Building Peer Model and Social Inclusion. Calgary: Women's Centre of Calgary.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jordan, Jan, and Elaine Mossman. 2018. “‘Back off Buddy, This Is My Body, Not Yours’: Empowering Girls through Self-Defense.” Violence Against Women 24 (13): 15911613. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077801217741217

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leaper, Campbell, Christia Spears Brown, and Melanie M. Ayres. 2013. “Adolescent Girls’ Cognitive Appraisals of Coping Responses to Sexual Harassment.” Psychology in the Schools 50 (10): 969986. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pits.21727.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lewis, Ruth, Susan Marine, and Kathryn Kenney. 2016. “‘I Get Together with My Friends and Try to Change It’: Young Feminist Students Resist ‘Laddism’, ‘Rape culture’ and ‘Everyday Sexism’.” Journal of Gender Studies 27 (1): 5672. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2016.1175925

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mandrona, April. 2016. “Ethical Practice and the Study of Girlhood.” Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 9 (3): 319. http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2016.090302

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mendes, Kaitlynn, Jessica Ringrose, and Jessalynn Keller. 2018. “#MeToo and the Promise and Pitfalls of Challenging Rape Culture Through Digital Feminist Activism.” European Journal of Women's Studies 25 (2): 236246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1350506818765318

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McKenzie, Christine. 2009. “Amplify Toolkit: Designing Spaces and Programs for Girls.” Girls Action Foundation: 159184.

  • Parton, Nigel. 2003. “Rethinking Professional Practice: The Contributions of Social Constructionism and the Feminist ‘Ethics of Care.’British Journal of Social Work 33 (1): 116. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/33.1.1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peters, Michael A., and Tina Besley. 2019. “Weinstein, Sexual Predation, and ‘Rape Culture’: Public Pedagogies and Hashtag Internet Activism.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (5): 458464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2018.1427850

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peterson, Zoë D., and Charlene L. Muehlenhard. 2011. “A Match-and-Motivation Model of how Women Label their Nonconsensual Sexual Experiences.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 35 (4): 558570. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0361684311410210

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Phipps, Alison, Jessica Ringrose, Emma Renold, and Carolyn Jackson. 2017. “Rape Culture, Lad Culture and Everyday Sexism: Researching, Conceptualizing and Politicizing New Mediations of Gender and Sexual Violence.” Journal of Gender Studies 27 (1): 18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2016.1266792

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Piller, Shir., Jess Gibly, and Einat Peled. 2018. “The Value and Rationale of Gender-Specific Intervention with At-Risk Adolescent Girls.” Child and Family Social Work 24 (1): 6976. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12582

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reed, Elizabeth, Marissa Salazar, Niloufar Agah, Alma I. Behar, Jay G. Silverman, Eric Walsh-Buhi, Melanie L.A. Rusch, and Anita Raj. 2019. “Experiencing Sexual Harassment by Males and Associated Substance Use & Poor Mental Health Outcomes among Adolescent Girls in the US.” SSM—Population Health 9: 17. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2019.100476.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rentschler, Carrie A. 2014. “Rape Culture and the Feminist Politics of Social Media.” Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 7 (1): 6582. http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2014.070106

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Renold, Emma. 2018. “‘Feel What I Feel’: Making Da(r)ta With Teen Girls for Creative Activisms on how Sexual Violence Matters.” Journal of Gender Studies 27 (1): 3755. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2017.1296352.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Renold, Emma, and Jessica Ringrose. 2011. “Schizoid Subjectives?: Re-theorizing Teen Girls’ Sexual Cultures in an Era of Sexualization.” Journal of Sociology 47 (4): 389409. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783311420792

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ringrose, Jessica, and Emma Renold. 2012. “Slut-Shaming, Girl Power and ‘Sexualisation’: Thinking through the Politics of the International SlutWalks with Teen Girls.” Gender and Education 24 (3): 333343. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2011.645023.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rothman, Karen, Emily Georgia Salivar, McKenzie K. Roddy, S. Gabe Hatch, and Brian D. Doss. 2019. “Sexual Assault among Women in College: Immediate and Long-Term Associations with Mental Health, Psychosocial Functioning, and Romantic Relationships.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence: 123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886260519870158.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ryan, Kathryn M. 2011. “The Relationship between Rape Myths and Sexual Scripts: The Social Construction of Rape.” Sex Roles, 65 (11/12): 774782. http://dx.doi./org/10.1007/s11199-011-0033-2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sanscartier, Matthew Daniel. 2014. “Reintroducing Structure: A Historical Analysis and Structural Account of Political Cultures in the Prairie Provinces.” Canadian Graduate Journal of Sociology and Criminology 3 (2): 144159. http://dx.doi.org/10.15353/cgjsc-rcessc.v3i2.100

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shakya, Holly B., Christopher J. Fariss, Christopher Ojeda, Anita Raj, and Elizabeth Reed. 2017. “Social Network Clustering of Sexual Violence Experienced by Adolescent Girls.” American Journal of Epidemiology 186 (7): 796804. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx154

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shute, Rosalyn, Larry Owens, and Philip Slee. 2008. “Everyday Victimization of Adolescent Girls by Boys: Sexual Harassment, Bullying or Aggression?Sex Roles 58: 477489. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9363-5.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sills, Sophie, Chelsea Pickens, Karishma Beach, Lloyd Jones, Octavia Calder-Dawe, Paulette Benton-Greig, and Nicola Gavey. 2016. “Rape Culture and Social Media: Young Critics and a Feminist Counterpublic.” Feminist Media Studies 16 (6): 935951. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.1137962

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scott, Katherine. 2019. The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada 2019: The Gender Gap in Canada's 26 Biggest Cities. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skoog, Therése, Sevgi Bayram Özdemir, and Håkan Stattin. 2016. “Understanding the Link between Pubertal Timing in Girls and the Development of Depressive Symptoms: The Role of Sexual Harassment.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 45: 316327. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10964-015-0292-2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2018. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2016. Statistics Canada, Catalogue number 85-002-X. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/85-002-x/2018001/article/54893-eng.pdf?st=p0m_w1k5

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2019. The Gender Wage Gap in Canada: 1998-2018. Statistics Canada, Catalogue number 75-004-M—2019004. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/75-004-m/75-004-m2019004-eng.pdf?st=X_zj4FrC

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taft, Jessica K. 2010. “Girlhood in Action: Contemporary U.S. Girls’ Organizations and the Public Sphere.” Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 3 (2): 1129. https://doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2010.030202

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taft, Jessica K. 2011. Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change across the Americas. New York: New York University Press.

  • Thacker, Lily K. 2017. “Rape Culture, Victim Blaming, and the Role of Media in the Criminal Justice System.” Kentucky Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship 1 (1): 8999. https://encompass.eku.edu/kjus/vol1/iss1/8

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WCC (Women's Centre of Calgary). 2020. Work for Change. https://www.womenscentrecalgary.org/work-for-change/

  • Torfadóttir, Una and Margrét Snorradóttir. 2016. “When Girls Take Up Space.” Video, 13:15. Uploaded 13 July 13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lndQwtzVvto.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 664 664 52
Full Text Views 59 59 5
PDF Downloads 87 87 11