Girls Inc of York Region received funds from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to create a campaign which would address girl on girl violence. 

The goal of the project was to:

  • Raise awareness on critical issues affecting girl’s and women’s lives at a community level.
  • Inspire dialogue and action to improve safety for girls.
  • Educate our community on work being done by not-for-profits in York Region and Bradford which will help build a long-term donor pipeline.
  • Engage a broad range of community leaders and organizations to promote positive changes in our institutional structures and policies.
  • Develop strong community voices and comprehensive, long-term approaches to issues of bullying, violence, inequality and the social and economic problems facing girls and women.
  • Support a deep commitment to building lasting solutions.
  • Enable those we serve to have a strong voice in the discussions and decisions affecting their lives.
  • Help girls and young women realize their individual and collective potential by helping them succeed in education, employment, housing, health and improve general well-being.
  • Combat the growth and persistence of violence, abuse and bullying that diminishes human potential and the quality of community life.
  • Lead the development of a common hopeful vision for the future while addressing these issues today.

The girls successfully created, wrote, directed and acted in a powerful Public Service Annoucment to acknowledge the growing issue of girl on girl violence.


Why does girl vs. girl bullying happen?

Girl vs. girl bullying is a form of relational aggression. Relational aggression is a type of aggression that harms a person’s social status, reputation, or relationship within a group of friends. This type of aggression is an ego-booster for the aggressor and does not involve physical violence.

Some common effects of girl vs. girl bullying include:

  • Loss of friendships and social standing
  • Isolation
  • School absences
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Long-term mental health problems

Bullying can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint in girl groups, as oftentimes the girls consider each other “friends.” But it can be seen in many forms, such as physical harassment, threats, name-calling, negative gossip and the silent treatment.

Although the occurrences in the movie Mean Girls seem a bit ludicrous, these types of situations actually do happen. Young women often do spend their days trying to get an “in” with the “in-crowd”, attempting to raise their own social status by bringing the status of others down. The “high value” young women place on their relationships “cycle of wanting to be popular.” Research shows that girl bullies spend time meticulously planning and executing their revenge/plan of action.

Reasons for girl vs. girl aggression:

  • Jealousy
  • Need for attention
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Competition

Working with Marketing professionals the girls created the campaign tag-line "From a Whisper to a Scream" based off of:

  • the notion that violence and bullying may start off with whispers and rumours about the victim, but ca quickly escalate to more insidious activities and behaviour;
  • the percieved trajectory by the victim of the escalation of behaviour thatstarted with whispers about her and an emotional or physical reaction being channelled or referred to as a “scream”
  • it starts with a whisper but ends with a “scream”
  • Victims speaking up
  • Bystanders stepping in
  • Inspire people to action

Supporting Evidence for the campaign include:

  • Early identification and intervention of bullying will prevent patterns of aggressive interactions from forming
  • When bullying does occur, over 50% of victims do not tell their parents
  • Girls who are bullied are more likely to feel sad or miserable than angry.  They more often discuss their distress with their friends than with a teacher or another adult
  • Victimized children who told an adult about being bullied reported being less victimized the following year compared to children who did not report being bullied (Yuille, Peplar & Craig 2004)
  • When no one talks about bullying, children who bully feel they can carry on without consequences.  Secrecy empowers children who bully (PrevNET)

The girls successfully hosted a community forum which had over 75 attendees from the community, school boards, parents, and youth organizations. They had a panel of experts speak on the topic and an open discussion with the group.

The following images were created as part of their print campaign: