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2023-03-31T14:31:37+02:00January 18, 2023|News|

The educating community tunes in, the students take the stand Last year, the students involved in the activities of the project, undertook a path of training and awareness on issues related to the prevention and combating of gender-based and peer-to-peer violence at school. In this second year of the project, the students’ work focuses on their activation inside and outside the school, hence in the educating community, to advance activities of prevention and combating gender-based and peer-to-peer violence among adolescents. Since last year, in Italy the project has been implemented in the cities of Milan and Rome. In the last few months, community workshops were held, where students collectively presented to representatives of the educating community the first results of their work of the last two years. Boys and girls shared the results of their research concerning the perception of the educating community towards the phenomenon of gender-based and peer-to-peer violence. After this presentation, which in both cities brought interesting results, the participants were divided into working tables in which they tried to think about how youth leadership can prevent and combat gender-based and peer-to-peer violence at school and on the ground. From this moment of discussion and reflection there was a very strong need to: training and awareness-raising activities for teachers, school staff, parents and students on the theme of gender-based and peer-to-peer violence that can be taught by the students themselves with the support of institutions and associations of the educating community working daily to prevent and combat this phenomenon; school as a training ground for democracy, a safe space for all, in which the voice of young people is heard and considered, a place capable of protecting and welcoming diversity, all with the approval of protocols and procedures for preventing and combating gender-based and peer-to-peer violence; physical and non-physical spaces allowing students to express themselves, find themselves, discuss, share, design, propose and participate; lively spaces that are safe for all, suitable for all and that respect and welcome diversity. Based on these points, the students of the schools involved will work in this month on the development of campaigns and advocacy actions with the aim of achieving common ground for the prevention and contrast of gender-based and peer-to-peer violence not only within their school, but also in the educating community in which they are part of.

Youth4Love2 summer camp: The children said no to school violence!

2023-07-07T12:29:06+02:00September 26, 2022|News|

  47 children and 9 teachers from Greece, Italy, Romania and Belgium gathered together at the European Feminist School of the Youth4Love2 program in Sofiko Corinthia, from July 2 to 7, to discuss school violence, stereotypes, personal boundaries and more! The children, who had already studied the phenomenon of violence in their schools as part of the program's educational activities, had the opportunity for five days, to get to know each other in person, to participate in educational workshops, have fun and lay the foundation to become agents of change for a violence-free school. So with plenty of joy and energy and after breaking the ice with each other, they started building the groups, with the first workshop dealing with sexual harassment, abuse and creating safe boundaries. This was something of particular interest to the children, who participated enthusiastically and sparked an exchange of views and thoughts. Then, after familiarizing themselves with mapping tools and techniques, they discussed how they feel about issues related to gender identities, stereotypes and gender-based violence. Also, they approached the subject of identity through different aspects, in order to understand how social identities are formed and what influences them either positively or negatively. On the fourth day, the children participated in workshops on issues of communication, campaigns and advocacy, while on the last day they evaluated all the activities. In total, the children participated in 13 educational workshops, aimed at cultivating teamwork and cooperation, familiarizing themselves with the different aspects and types of school violence, as well as acquiring new skills in terms of leadership, communication and advovacy. The students really understood the power they have to shape and influence their environment by making different choices, while they gained the knowledge and tools to become agents of change for a fairer and more inclusive school!  

Research on the Influence of Media Violence on Youth

2022-08-26T17:56:07+02:00July 29, 2022|News|

Media use by children and teenagers has increased substantially in these years, in part because of the recent increase in mobile phone use by children and teenagers. About three-quarters of teenagers now own smartphones, and more than half say they are online “often” and “addicted” to their phones. The impact of the media on society and individuals with violent themes and descriptions is increasingly being noticed. A larger amount of research evidence shows that those violence scene in media such as television, films, music, and video games poses a serious threat to the mental health of youth. This article will be addressed on effects of violent videos on young people, namely, inducing aggressive behavior, reducing prosocial behavior and inducing violent desensitization. The findings suggest that experts have reached a consensus on the reality of the impact of violent media on children. Experimental studies have conclusively shown that in the short term, exposure of children and adults to media violence will immediately increases the possibility of having aggressive behavior, decreases prosocial behavior and triggers violent desensitization. Longitudinal experimental studies also shows convincingly evidence and the result shows that children’s exposure to electronic media violence will lead to a long-term increase in their risk of exhibiting aggressive and violent behavior. Download the article:

Children can defeat violence by recognizing it!

2022-12-20T15:45:54+01:00April 22, 2022|News|

"I learned how to recognize violence, as there is more than just the obvious form" a student told us during ActionAid’s educational workshops about violence as part of the project Youth4Love2. From January to April, 20 workshops were held in 2 schools in Athens, with the participation of 106 adolescents. The themes on which the children worked were human rights and discrimination, forms of violence, school violence, stereotypes, power and abuse, cyber bullying and protection, gender identities and network creation against school violence. "Personally, it is very uncomfortable for me to go to the family if I am a victim of violence," said another child during the workshops, pointing out that children often feel they have nowhere to turn to in such incidents. The workshops were experiential, allowing children to really work on themes, through role-playing games, group work, simulations, creative expression work, and brainstorming. From the very first meetings, they studied the phenomenon of violence and its forms, while discussing how they feel about it and what can cause it. In an experiential way they recognized the points that unite a group and detected the role that each and everyone plays in it. After all, are there specific roles in a team? Is there anyone who would call troublemaker or, in the end, are there other factors that contribute to a riot? What is the role that each and every individual plays in the balance of the team? Stereotypes were another chapter that they studied in detail, as they seemed to accompany us from our childhood. Speaking of fairy-tale heroines such as Snow White, Rapunzel and Cinderella who were all sweet, beautiful and obedient women, who after difficulties, were rewarded with a handsome and strong prince, the children went into the process of thinking: "Is there a man who is not afraid? " with a student answering "the prince!". Similarly, during a role play, they hypothetically talked about a person working as a bartender with most children imagining him as a man, heterosexual, handsome, tall, fit, with tattoos, only to discover shortly afterwards that the bartender was a trans man. A boy from the group was impressed and remarked that "in the end, no matter how much we criticize the stereotypes, we keep them unconscious". In closing, a child told us "As a department we could not communicate and after the program I realized that we started to get closer, to communicate better." Education on such topics is very important in schools, first of all for children to better understand themselves and others and then to be able to recognize what violence means and what are the stereotypes that influence our behaviors and perceptions. By working in groups with children, teachers and parents, we can tackle school violence and bring about change.

New ‘sex law’ approved by Belgian Federal Parliament. Much more in line with 21st century sexual morals!

2022-08-26T17:18:31+02:00March 18, 2022|News|

Late Thursday evening, the Belgian Federal Parliament gave the green light for a modernisation of sexual criminal law. This should not only provide better protection against sexual violence, but also adapt our laws to the sexual morals of the 21st century. Belgian Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne talks about a milestone, but what will actually change? Why was this change necessary? Our current penal code dates back to 1867 and is therefore not at all adapted to social reality. While it is estimated that eighty women are raped every day, the sometimes very unclear legislation and difficult burden of proof still make it extremely difficult to prosecute the crimes. The law book was therefore in urgent need of updating. Also to change many archaic concepts such as 'assault on the integrity of the person', which will soon become 'violation of sexual integrity'. Vivaldi therefore wrote the renewal of sexual law into the coalition agreement. What will change? Central to the new legislation is the concept of consent. Without consent, sexual acts are punishable. The fact that someone does not resist does not mean that they have consented. Another new feature is that consent can now be withdrawn during sex. This is to prevent, among other things, stealth: someone who suddenly takes off the condom without consent and continues having sex. Another phenomenon has also been tackled: spiking. This involves putting a narcotic in the drinks of women in order to rape them afterwards. From now on, this will be an aggravating circumstance, just like threats, incest, sexual violence by a partner, a discriminating motive, abuse of authority, sex in the presence of several persons, sex with minors or abuse of a person's vulnerable situation. The age of sexual consent remains at 16, but young people between 14 and 16 can have sex with mutual consent. As long as there is no more than three years difference. Although sex between two people aged, say, 14 and 18 will still be covered by the legal cloak of love. Voyeurism will be defined differently from now on. In order to speak of voyeurism, victims no longer need to be bared. Last year, a voyeur who filmed under skirts was acquitted, because the intimate areas of the victims were not bared and, according to the letter of the law, no crime was committed', says Van Quickenborne. So that changes. Will the punishment be stiffer? Certainly. The penalties will go from one month to five years to six months to ten years. So the maximum sentence for rape will be doubled. If there are aggravating circumstances, another five years will be added. Judges will also have more opportunities to impose therapy, for example, when sentencing. What about sex workers? The new Penal Code partially decriminalises sex work. Currently, there is a policy of tolerance, but no legal framework for those involved, so that sex workers cannot, for example, take out a mortgage loan. Or that anyone who works with them - bookkeepers or drivers

Violence among adolescents through their own eyes

2022-01-12T14:03:48+01:00November 19, 2021|News|

How are we going to prevent, detect and address peer violence among adolescents? The project Youty4Love 2 aims to do exactly that, with the cooperation of Italy, Belgium, Greece and Romania and by focusing on five local communities. The goal is to promote the adoption of positive behaviors on preventing and addressing peer violence among youth, families, educational professionals and community members. Starting with the students and in order to learn more about their experience on youth violence in schools, ActionAid Hellas made 4 focus groups in Greece with the participation of 40 teen-participants. What is impressive is that the majority of the teenagers, reported physical violence and especially among boys, ranging from a push to a kick or even a knife assault. Something also important to note down is that none of the students who participated, seem to understand the severity of the incidents they described. So what exactly happen in schools regarding physical and verbal violence? “One day at school a group of boys started beating one boy, with no reason”, “two students right outside our school had a disagreement and after that they started beating each other”, “during a school excursion, where I was not present, I heard that a schoolmate took out a knife at two other persons of the school…because they had a fight at the past, the one boy got angry and started beating my friend hard, because of his anger”. Is physical violence and verbal abuse connected? It seemed quite difficult for the children to understand and report psychological violence and verbal abuse and unfortunately the majority of them either think of verbal abuse as a common practice or they connect it to the physical abuse: “…I saw a group of boys who pushed another boy and were making fun of his weight…they thought that something like that would make them macho”, “he was alone in a corner and in front of him there was a group of schoolmates who were making fun, because of what he was, about his identity. I never understood why. He was just different.” The last experience has a common understanding with the perception of the racist abuse as another child shared: “I saw a group of children isolated in a corner of the courtyard a boy who had recently come to our school. This child had come from another country and the children who made up this group of friends insulted him, with very ugly characterizations and they started beating him. This story went on for about 6 weeks and then that particular child decided to leave." Regarding the role of gender towards violence, the children, follow stereotypical beliefs, as they seem to believe that boys mainly use physical power and girls fight through words. But what does violence mean to the children who participated? Some of the words or phrases they shared are the following: “Bullying, different, something that does not pair with everybody, tensions, advantageous position based on unknown criteria, inequality, disturbance of normality, bad

The International Day of Non-Violence (2 October)

2022-01-12T14:04:17+01:00October 1, 2021|News|

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. According to General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/271 of 15 June 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness". The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence". Introducing the resolution in the General Assembly on behalf of 140 co-sponsors, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Anand Sharma, said that the wide and diverse sponsorship of the resolution was a reflection of the universal respect for Mahatma Gandhi and of the enduring relevance of his philosophy. Quoting the late leader’s own words, he said: "Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man". more info: Video by The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement -

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