EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
The imposition of a coerced autonomy: Suicidal “bad girls”, human service professionals and gender bias
Through a thematic analysis of four cases of suicide by young women identified from the National Coronial Information System, I apply a gendered lens to understand the ways human service professionals’ expectations of feminine behaviour led them to view these young women as "bad girls" and imposed a disempowering coerced autonomy framework onto them. In this framework, the girls were held responsible for factors that caused their distress but were denied self-determination in their diagnosis and/or treatment. I aim to broaden understanding of how gendered expectations can have fatal consequences.
The purpose of this paper is to provide visibility of the experiences of a group of young Australian women who died by suicide that are hidden in quantitative studies of suicide and overlooked in media representations of female suicidality. This group of women, some of whom were marginalised because of Indigeneity or ethnicity, experienced multiple adversities in their childhoods. They were frequently physically and sexually abused, engaged in drug and alcohol abuse, and had frequent contact with police and child welfare services.
A grounded, thematic analysis of four cases of suicide by young women who had told someone they were suicidal.