Anyone could be lurking around! : Constraints on adolescent girls recreational activities after dark
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Seventy percent per cent of Australian women fear attack after dark (1999). Leisure researchers have found that fear of violence after dark constrains women's recreational choices (Henderson, 1993). This paper explores the attitudes of a diverse group of almost 300 adolescent girls in Western Australia towards recreation outside the home at night. Their self-administered questionnaire responses showed that intrinsic constraints such as the fear of physical or sexual attack restricted many girls ‘access and opportunities for active recreation. In addition to girls’ own fears extrinsic constraints such as parental concerns and lack of supervision and suitable transport compounded the issue. The girls surveyed considered that their bedrooms were safe but as bedrooms are usually sites for passive recreation, by inference, adolescent girls' fears may contribute to their lack of fitness relative to boys. The study uncovered a latent demand by adolescent girls to extend their active recreational opportunities beyond daylight hours. Suggestions aimed at recreation providers could encourage greater participation of young women in active recreation pursuits after dark.