Care vs control: how do girls see healthy relationships?

Here is a good example of recent action research:  Women’s Aid ( and Girlguiding ( have collaborated to produce this very interesting (and at times mortifying) report about the ways in which girls today understand relationships.  The report explores issues of well-being, happiness, fulfillment, safety, security, personal space (offlline and online), and others.

You can read the full report here, and here are some of the findings:

Two-fifths of girls believe it is acceptable for a partner to make you tell them where you are all the time.

Girls are ready to accept controlling behaviour and see it as a normal part of a ‘caring’ relationship.

Our research exposed a generation suffering from a role model deficit, with a narrow range of positive examples to look up to.

21% said that telling you what you can and can’t wear was acceptable.

21% said that shouting at you or calling you names because of what you may have done could sometimes be OK.

Girls […] told us that if they were concerned about their own relationships, most would be very reluctant to involve parents, teachers or their authority figures unless they felt the situation had become extreme. For the majority this means physical violence – leaving huge leeway for harmful controlling behaviour to go unchecked and establishing very damaging expectations for future relationships.

94% said that it was never acceptable to pressure a girl to have sex. (but 6% didn’t!)

39% said that making you tell them where you are all the time is acceptable.

A word cloud of key concepts mentioned in the focus groups conducted for the report.

Key notions discussed in the focus-groups


Categories: Rethinking The World

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