In 2002 we embarked on what was a “cutting edge” website and educational tool called GirlsAllowed. GirlsAllowed was conceived as an animated web site for girls 11 to 14 designed to engage girls as "allowed" (welcome) and "aloud" (having a voice) with a focus on helping girls learn to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships before becoming involved in potentially abusive relationships — and to help girls become active in intimate partner violence prevention in their communities. The program featured an animated teen friend named "Anni" whose "space" is the center for information, activities, games and life lessons. Each weekday, a new animated "life lesson" appeared on the web site, giving girls the opportunity to follow stories involving various people in Anni's life -stories about body image, dating pressures, being a good listener, handling conflict, and of course, identifying healthy and unhealthy relationships.
When we started, there were few organizations addressing the needs of tweens/teens. We are happy to say there are now many, many wonderful organizations dedicated to what we were doing with GirlsAllowed back in the early 2000’s…and that is most gratifying.
We retired Anni and her friends on October 31, 2011 – and are thankful to our partners at Break the Cycle, Love is Not Abuse, Love is Respect and countless other wonderful organizations who carry this torch forward.
is an animated web site for girls 11 to 14. It is designed to engage girls as "allowed" (welcome) and "aloud" (having a voice) with a focus on helping girls learn to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships before becoming involved in potentially abusive relationships — and to help girls become active in intimate partner violence prevention in their communities. The program features an animated teen friend named "Anni" whose "space" is the center for information, activities, games and life lessons. Each weekday, a new animated "life lesson" (one of a series of 70) appear on the web site, giving girls the opportunity to follow stories involving various people in Anni's life -stories about body image, dating pressures, being a good listener, handling conflict, and of course, identifying healthy and unhealthy relationships. We are using the technology that engages girls of today in a way that won't just entertain them — it will save their lives.
Who developed the GirlsAllowed
The program was developed by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV). CAEPV is a nonprofit alliance of U.S. companies committed to preventing partner violence through awareness and education for the workers of today - and tomorrow. The Eastman Kodak Company is the primary sponsor of GirlsAllowed.
Why did CAEPV develop this program?
Recently, the Justice Department found that women ages 16 to 24 are the most likely victims of intimate partner violence
. Others studies have also documented the effects of violence in the lives of girls. Here are two:
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that approximately 1 in 5 female students (9th through 12th grade) reported being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. The study found that dating violence against adolescent girls is associated with increased risk of substance abuse, unhealthy weight control behavior, sexual risk behaviors, pregnancy, and attempted suicide. The study concluded that not only is dating violence extremely prevalent among teens, but that girls who experience dating violence are more likely to exhibit other serious health risk behaviors.
A study in the November 2001 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that teenage girls who witnessed violence were two to three times more likely to report using tobacco or marijuana, drinking alcohol or using drugs before sex and having intercourse with a partner who had multiple partners, compared with girls who had not witnessed or experienced violence. Girls who experienced violence first-hand were also more likely to take these health risks, and they were two to four times more likely than those with no exposure to violence to have sex at an early age, have intercourse with strangers, have multiple sex partners or test positive for a sexually transmitted disease.
What are the program objectives?
CAEPV knows that intimate partner violence can happen to anyone - regardless of economic background, education, race, culture, ethnicity, or ability. The most current research finds no racial/ethnic differences in reports of dating violence. Since research also indicates that girls are the most likely victims of intimate violence, the GirlsAllowed effort is directed at girls. In future, we hope to develop an appropriate companion program for boys.
How many at-risk girls do we hope to reach?
As background, a 2001 study by UCLA's Center for Communication Policy found that 72% of Americans are online - and according to an August 10, 2000 article in E-Commerce Times, teenage girls are the fastest growing age segment, showing an increase of 125 percent over the past year -- from 1.9 million to 4.4 million unique visitors. This growth rate is five times higher than the overall expansion of Internet use
. It stands to reason that since girls are the fastest growing age segment using the Internet, a web site is a very proactive way to try to reach them!
The program had a goal of reaching a minimum of 50,000 girls through the web site in the first year - and exceeded that goal by more than 20%. With links to over 650 different web sites, including our member companies sites, as well as partnership links with girl-serving organizations across the country, we are continue to reach more girls each month.
Who is sponsoring GirlsAllowed
In addition to our primary sponsor, the Eastman Kodak Company
, here are just a few others who have generously assisted in making GirlsAllowed
The CAEPV Board of Directors
American Express Foundation
Conrad Hilton Foundation
Muriel Siebert & Co., Inc.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
State Farm Insurance Companies
The Verizon Foundation
What are people saying about GirlsAllowed
Here are just a few thoughts:
From a girl on a teen chat site:
"Hi every1. I would just like to recommend a great site that gives u great advice. Go to www.GirlsAllowed.com it will help u with problems such as friends, boyfriends, and peer presure. No this is not one of those "bubblegum" sites where its all about say hi to the guys then blah blah blah it is so real just wanted to let u know."
From an adult chat site talking about GirlsAllowed:
"i especially like the fact that it covers unhealthy relationships between girls too. because lemme tell you...those come fast and furious...and not only when you're a teenager."
From a school counselor in North Carolina:
I am the school counselor at Maplass Corner Elementary School in Burgaw N.C. Last year I directed a after school group of 5th grade girls we called Girl Power. Each time we met we would go to the Girls Allowed web site, read about Anni and have a discussion. Your web site is wonderful! It really opened up a line of communication with the girls... they began to understand that other people are going through the same things that they are and they were able to talk together about what it's like to be a 5th grade girl.
I am looking forward to having more after school Girl Power groups this year and using your web site! Thank you so much for your web site,
Malpass Corner Elementary
From a social worker in Australia:
I got a chance to look at the "Girls Allowed" website and I think it is excellent! The information is clear and concise and in 'plain language' which many of our young people in Keep Safe Stay Cool find really valuable. I would really like to put a link to GirlsAllowed on the Keep Safe Stay Cool website and will follow this up with those who have more knowledge of computers than I do! Thank you again for your feedback and also for sharing such a valuable resource with myself and the rest of the team.
Project Manager/Social Worker, Keep Safe Stay Cool project
Noarlunga Health Services
South Australia, Australia
We are still in need of financial assistance for the site - especially to help us get the word out about the site to the girls who will need it most. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to GirlsAllowed
, send your check to the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, 2416 E. Washington Street, Suite E, Bloomington, IL 61704. Note on the memo section of your check that it is for the GirlsAllowed
program. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org