A peer-lead project of young men to learn about the impact of VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) and how to prevent and reduce it in schools.
The aim of the project is to focus on male’s acknowledging why VAWG may sometimes be allowed to happen. The team of young men were hand selected by their school, St. Georges, to take part in the project. It was guided by The STAR Project team at Yellow Door but would focus on being led by the group of young men.
In the first session, VAWG was explained and the purpose of the project. Alongside some terminology definitions, initial statistics about VAWG and a Myth and Facts activity, designed to get the group thinking about what they might already know or have noticed about VAWG.
The group spent their second session exploring stereotypes; what they mean and why they exist and how they apply to modern times and how they may link back to VAWG. They talked about toxic masculinity and its different from being proud to be a man and valuing masculine traits. They then applied this to what the students may have seen in their school. This led onto discussing what they could do about it and the type of project they wanted to create.
The group, facilitated by the STAR Project worker, discussed in detail how men can be victims to. This prompted some discussion on why men report less and are less likely to tell anyone if they have been victimised.
It was in the third session where the group of young male students talked about naming the project as well as providing commonly used imagery and some statistics that could be used. The team held discussions on what they wanted to achieve and started to allocate different jobs based on their strengths and skills. The “Peer HERoes Project” was born!
During the following sessions, proposals for potential fundraisers were put forward, as well as designing and creating a poster campaign. The team also wanted to hold a charity football match, planning to charge for tickets to watch the match as well as having a food stand and a non-uniform day.
The Peer Heroes’ gathered feedback from a group of female students at their school. They were pleased with the designs and had largely positive remarks. A few pointers for improvement were:
- Making the posters less wordy to make them more attractive to passers-by.
- Applying the statistics more directly to school life rather than more generalised, national stats.
- Adding more information on how to prevent VAWG and what their classmates could do to prevent it.
In the final session, the team were fed back the comments from the girls and agreed to make changes to the final products. The posters were simplified, added stats about school VAWG and corrected alongside the girl’s comments.
With regards to how to prevent VAWG, the team chose to create an additional poster based upon being an Active Bystander.