Helping Girls Live Safer Lives

Girls Inc. Project Bold strengthens girls’ abilities to lead safer lives, including strategies for self-defense, seeking out and talking with caring adults about personal violence, and for advocating on violence issues for girls and young women.

Girls Incorporated is deeply concerned about the magnitude of violence in girls’ lives. According to a 1997 survey, 30 percent of high school students said that violence and crime were the most-important concerns that school-age children face. Violence against girls is tolerated, especially when committed by people they know. Too often the victims are blamed.

Many girls face violence somewhere in their communities (street violence, no safe place to go, neighborhoods that fear kids rather than protect them); at home (family violence); at school (teasing, bullying, sexual harassment, verbal and physical fights). In a 1997 survey, about half (46 percent) of girls surveyed did not always feel safe in the neighborhood where they lived and one in four girls in grades 9 through 12 (26 percent) has been the victim of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or date-forced sex.

Violence in girls’ lives involves a complicated mixture of environmental, social, and psychological factors. New risks and pressures arise with each developmental stage. In response to our deep concern about the complicated interplay between violence, age, and gender, Girls Incorporated created Project BOLD, a comprehensive, research-based program designed to help girls and young women avoid, address, and cope with violence.