Girls Inc. empowers girls to succeed by providing trusting mentoring relationships, a girls-only environment, and research-based, hands-on programming. Three critical goals drive our programming: to help girls achieve healthy lives, succeed academically, and acquire the life skills needed to prepare them for adulthood. We work to ensure that girls have the skills, knowledge, and support to be safe and reduce their risk of experiencing violence.
Why is a personal safety and violence prevention program for girls important?
Girls Inc. believes that girls have the right to be confident in themselves and be safe in the world. Girls are entitled to feel safe as they go through life, and they are entitled to be safe in their homes, schools, and communities. In the U.S. and Canada, girls and young women are much more likely to suffer from domestic violence and rape or sexual abuse than their male peers. Girls are especially likely to experience gender-based violence, which, in addition to physical and sexual abuse, includes sexual harassment and partner or dating violence.
Girls receive mixed messages about how to respond to violence—“Depend on others to protect you,” “Get tough because you can count only on yourself,” “Give in because your world can never be safe.” Girls and young women deserve opportunities that equip them to increase their personal safety and the safety of others. More specifically, programs need to engage girls in analyzing the causes and effects of violence and expand their individual skills and strategies for protecting themselves.
In addition to stronger personal skills, girls deserve communities and a world that treats everyone with respect and that takes responsibility for providing a safe environment. Programs also need to engage girls and young women as important agents of change—developing their collective strategies and skills to help their communities live up to expectations for being safe and welcoming to all. Girls can feel safer and be safer, we believe, through programs that address both self-protection and community change.
About the Program
Through Girls Inc. Project BOLD, girls learn skills and strategies to lead safer lives in their homes, in relationships, in their communities, and online. Girls learn specific self-defense techniques and strategies as well as how to seek out and talk to caring adults about personal and gender-based violence. Older girls also take on a community action project to advocate for a safer world for all women and girls.
- Be BOLD (for girls ages 6 to 8) builds girls’ skills and personal power for avoiding or dealing with hurtful or dangerous situations and assists them in identifying resources that contribute to their safety. Parents have a key role in supporting girls throughout the program.
- Action for Safety (for girls ages 9 to 11) builds negotiation, assertiveness, and self-defense skills. It facilitates open and honest discussions to increase girls’ understanding about interpersonal violence as well as encourage, support, and lessen the fear and isolation of girls experiencing violence.
- Living Safe & Strong (for girls ages 12 to 14) continues discussion of gender violence issues, reinforces and provides additional safety strategies and self-defense skills for teen girls, and introduces them to community experts and resources. Girls also develop and conduct community action projects addressing violence issues important to them.