Our initiative unfolds at the intersection of several contemporary challenges:
1. Relationships are the most important factor of our happiness and wellbeing yet the safe spaces to learn these skills for youngsters are scarce.
2. Gender- and sexuality related violence continues to be a majour problem all through Europe.
3. Aggression and violence strike particularly young people in difficult situations. Disadvantaged teenagers often view intimate partner violence as a normal, if unwanted, aspect of relationships. Women from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities frequently have experiences of abuse compounded by racism and barriers to support. Furthermore such violence can also target members of LGBTQ communities but also heterosexual men .
4. Gender roles and representations of sexuality are what Hofstede called the “taboo dimension” of cultures, so many are the related taboos and prescriptions. And currently these representations and taboos are undergoing deep changes. The recent series of scandals about sexual harassment and the Metoo movement highlight an aspect of this change.
5. In many European cities there is a growing representation of groups of ‘young foreign men’ as synonym of threat, in the worst case becoming targets of negative campaign (Hungary) in the best a un unintentional maintenance of the myth of the “violent black man”.
TO ANSWER THE NEEDS ABOVE THE PROJECT HAS THE FOLLOWING OBJECTIVES
Our project wishes to offer resources for young people and youth workers to prevent gender-based violence. In particular: Offer resources to young people to:
– Being able to identify different forms of gender-based and sexuality-related violence (physical, symbolic, systemic etc.)
– Gaining confidence in stepping up against manifestations of violence targeting them or third personsBeing able to separate cultural patterns and manifestations of violence – Being able to approach sexuality in a confident positive way
Offering resources to youth workers to: – Address gender prejudices emerging in groups they work with, identifying possible manifestations of different forms of prejudice – Understand the role of cultural differences in behavior concerning gender prejudices and
being able to address them in culturally fair ways (as opposed to culture-blind). – Tackle questions of sexuality with young people in a positive way
ACTIVITIES and their IMPACTS To reach our objectives we propose to engage in a co-constructive methodological development process to create
a set of training materials together with Youth:
– A Textbook of “Theory of gender and sexuality related violence” – serving youth workers to be able to identify the sources of aggressive and violent behavior (IO1)
– A textbook of “Preconceptions and prejudice and gender and sexuality related
violence from an intercultural perspective” helping to separate myths and realities surrounding sexual violence (IO2)
– Toolkit of “Interactive Intimacy empowerment” offering training tools for youth
workers to address issues related to intimacy with diverse groups of youngsters (IO3)
– Art workshops offering training tools for youth workers to address issues related to harmful relationships through art activities (IO4)
– Awareness-raising campaign – offering training tools for youth workers to co-create campaigns with youngsters to raise awareness of their peers (IO5)
– Finally, we create an online learning tool (IO6) for youth workers to help them integrate the above products into their work practice either by establishing specific trainings or by inserting specific sessions into existing collaboration process.
METHODOLOGY Our approach capable of reflecting on cultural differences without forcing or reifying them b) An approach of “Interactive intimacy empowerment” inviting to a reflection and discussion about intimacy, gender and sexuality in a safe way, helping to set and respect one’s own boundaries and those of the others c) Experiential learning methods including drama and visual arts to enable young people to approach difficult topics in a safe, positive and creative way
PARTICIPANTS During the project we’ll involve directly 60-80 young people to create our training materials together, so that they are the closest possible to their needs and learning styles. We’ll involve at least 150 Youth Workers to test and assess our materials. We’ll engage in discussions with decision-makers and Youth Worker training institutions to integrate our products.