Theatre forums to tackle gender-based violence in schools and communities

The Gender ABC project aims at tackling gender inequality through educational sessions in schools. The educational activities with children in schools to prevent and combat gender-based violence (GBV) are now coming to an end and the final awareness events are taking place. These are meant for the targeted class to be able to communicate what they learned within the “Gender ABC” project to their parents, communities and peers. In Italy, we have chosen to do so in the form of a theatre forum.

Thanks to this tool, developed within the methodology of Theatre of the Oppressed, the audience does not just sit and watch but rather takes part in the play to be a “spect-actor” and to be able to act in problematic situations with the aim of solving them. There are no wrong solutions in this form of theatre: each and every participant’s contribution allows everyone to understand what works and what doesn’t, and therefore to move forward towards the resolution of the conflict.

During the last months, children have learned to recognise different forms of gender-based violence, to know how to protect themselves and to react. They are now testing their skills and experimenting how to support a friend who is suffering a form of violence, how to seek the help of trusted adults, how to respond and say collectively no. As parents and children take turn in stepping on stage, they realise together that violence can’t occur if the whole community is there to oppose it.