Intersecting Sites of Violence in the Lives of Girls National Research Project

Intersecting Sites of Violence in the Lives of Girls is a three-phase participatory action research initiative. The overarching purpose of this work is to improve the lives of girls and young women by:

  • identifying the various indicators of inequality that they experience and that are communicated in their everyday language;
  • through analyzing narratives (language), identify ways in which institutions wittingly and unwittingly contribute to the victimization or vulnerability of girls and young women;
  • identifying those particular vulnerabilities and inequalities associated with girls and young women who are at the site of multiple and intersecting forms of violence. These include girls and young women from known disadvantaged populations;
  • through this identification process, alert service providers and policy-makers about what indicators to focus on in assessing the impact of their policies and practices on the lives of girls and young women; and
  • identify successful change strategies which organizations that work with girls in similar situations can utilize to dismantle barriers to equality and promote their full participation.

During this first phase of the project, the focus has been on developing a conceptual framework for an intersectional analysis of violence in girls’ lives; creating equitable partnerships with local, regional, and national organizations that are participating in the action research; developing equitable partnerships with girls who will participate in the action research; mentoring girls in the research process; and developing tools and strategies to identify ways in which race, ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation, residential location, and ability impact upon and contribute to the victimization of girls.

Particularly, we will focus on the language of inequality and the various indicators of inequality that are communicated to young women and girls, and that they in turn internalize and normalize through everyday language and behaviour. This focus is especially relevant in light of the backlash against feminism, and the tendency of social institutions and the media to normalize violence and inequality that victimize girls, in other words, to render these experiences as commonplace and simply taken for granted. It is important to consider how, in contrast, the media highlights and over-represents violence that is perpetrated by girls, seldom questioning whether or not there have been previous experiences of victimization.

In previous research we became increasingly aware of the profound influences exerted by race, class, sexuality and ability on the life chances of girls and young women. Much of our preliminary research involved rural girls, immigrant girls, and Aboriginal young women. These projects highlighted the need to further investigate the impact of intersectionality and its links to systemic as well as intimate forms of violence.

To carry out the research, we partner with relevant girl-oriented organizations and advocacy groups to share information and to engage in a dialogue with respect to the conditions of girls’ lives to ensure that the research process and findings are meaningful and relevant to the realities of girls’ lives

We have created a National Advisory Committee with representation from national, regional, and local organizations that work with diverse groups of girls as well as organizations concerned with violence against women to offer ongoing expert advice to enhance the work of the Research Team. They will help identify local/regional/national issues concerning girls as they relate to diversity, intersectionality and violence, and to offer recommendations on how these issues might be addressed within the objectives of the study. They will facilitate community awareness of the study within other organizations at the local, regional and national level, assist in disseminating information to contacts in their communities and identify and refer girls to participate in study. They will also provide information and materials that directly relate to the study.

National Advisory Committee Members:

  • Stacia Stewart, Diversity Coordinator, Egale Canada
  • Beverley Wybrow, Executive Director, Canadian Women’s Foundation
  • Jenny Robinson, Director of Advocacy and National Initiatives, YWCA Canada
  • Pam Jolliffe, National Executive Director, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
  • Anu Bose, Executive Director, National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada
  • Dianne Bascombe, Executive Director, National Children’s Alliance
  • Deborah Baretto, Project Coordinator, MediaWatch
  • Tatiana Fraser, Executive Director, PowerCamp National
  • Terry Price, President, Canadian Teachers Federation
  • Temira Vance, Youth Council Member, Native Women’s Association of Canada
  • Louise Moyer, Education, Awareness and Outreach Unit, Ontario Women’s Directorate
  • Marlyn Bennett, Director of Research, First Nations Research Site, CECW
  • Rian Lougheed-Smith, Mount Allison University
  • Romy Poletti, Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children
  • Karen Shaver, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada

National Research Team Members:

  • Helene Berman, RN, PhD, Associate Professor School of Nursing, Research Associate, Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children (CRVAWC), The University of Western Ontario – Coordinator.
  • Rina Arseneault, Associate Director, Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence University of New Brunswick
  • Linda Eyre, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick
  • Pam Downe, PhD, RESOLVE Saskatchewan, Associate Professor, Dept of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Saskatchewan
  • Jocelyn Proulx, PhD, Acting Director and Research Associate, RESOLVE Manitoba, University of Manitoba
  • Margaret Jackson, PhD, Director FREDA, Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University
  • Barb MacQuarrie, Community Director, Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, The University of Western Ontario
  • Romy Poletti, Student, The University of Western Ontario
  • Sylvie Normandeau, PhD, Professeure, CRI-VIFF, Universite de Montreal
  • Leslie Tutty, PhD, Academic Research Coordinator, RESOLVE Alberta, Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary
  • Jane Ursel, PhD, Director, RESOLVE, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba

Community Researchers:

  • Elizabeth Harper, Project Coordinator, CRI-VIFF, Universite de Montreal
  • Yasmin Hussain, Project Coordinator, Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, The University of Western Ontario

National Coordinators:

  • Barb MacQuarrie & Maria Callaghan, Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, The University of Western Ontario

For information on the regional scene click on this link: Intersecting Sites of Violence in the Lives of Girls Regional Research Project