Young Women’s Empowerment Project: Bad Encounter Line (2012)

A participatory research action project on how youth in the sex trade and street economy are turned away from the systems meant to help [them] and what [they] are doing to fight back:

Directly from the report (source):

Three main findings included…

1. Institutional violence made individual violence worse. This means that when girls experienced things like rape or assault and then tried to get help, systems often did more harm to us. An example of this is a girl not being believed or a girl being arrested when she is trying to file a report for rape.

2. We are DENIED HELP from institutions both passively and actively. This means that some systems are set up to fail us because they are too complicated or because we are simply told that we cannot access help because we are involved in the sex trade or street economy.

3. Resilience is a stepping stone to resistance. This means that the more we take care of ourselves or heal, the more we have the power to fight back. We heal through breaking isolation and building community, by soothing ourselves with art, meditation, reading, baths and more. We fight back and resist violence by building critical awareness and recognizing that oppression plays an important role in our experiences. We fight back by speaking out and standing up for ourselves and our community. Harm reduction is a life philosophy that we use to resist violence. It’s more than just using a condom—it means
learning to put our safety and healing first. We saw over and over again that girls are excited and inspired about making changes and practicing self care. We now have proof that unconventional resilience methods are a stepping stone to resistance.


  1. Strange you posted this because I just watched a documentary on the silence of sexual assault on women in the armed forces. It was very similar to the first thing on your list and was hard to watch. I’ll have to read more on that report.

    1. Thanks Lindsey for posting the comment. I’ve been meaning to watch that documentary (I think I know which one you are referring to but the title is slipping my mind right now). I think I would need an evening to myself to watch that following up with a happier movie. It must be intense to watch.

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