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Game zone: educational tools to prevent gender-based violence

An administrative intern working in a local police station is individually investigating the disappearance of a girl. Nobody else in the office really cares about finding her. Therefore, the intern asks some students who have come to visit the police station for help. Before the other officers return from lunch, in 45 minutes, they have to solve some clues and find out what happened to Michelle and where she is. By solving the clues, the students discover that a sexual harassment episode is behind her disappearance and that she has had to face the indifference and incomprehension of many people around her.

Get over it

This is the incipit and the plot of the escape room named “Get over it”, developed by Shokkin Group and presented in its digital version at the Game Zone event held in Estonia this June. The escape room, which can be easily reproduced in its physical version by following the instructions on the Playversity website, allows reflections on gender-based violence with young people through a dynamic mode. Indeed, through Michelle’s testimonies, players gradually face some situations and concepts that define the framework of gender-based violence: bullying, sexual harassment, victim blaming, indifference by institutions, and emotional invalidation. Starting from them, at the end of the game, the facilitator(s) can open and guide discussions and reflections about what happened to Michelle, with the broader view to recognise and deconstruct gender stereotypes and raise awareness on sexual harassment and gender-based violence episodes.

Game Zone

The escape game was presented during the Game Zone contact-making event held in Vihi küla and Tallinn (Estonia) from 4 to 10 June, organised by the Shokkin Group under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission. The event aimed to create a network of people (youth workers and educators, NGO workers, decision-makers…) and organisations interested in game-based learning by building new international partnerships and generating concrete collaboration ideas. During the event, participants also had the opportunity to reflect together on the importance of incorporating games into the educational process, trying to define which characteristics games and educational tools should have to achieve educational and learning outcomes, and thinking about how to implement the game-based learning approach in an innovative way. Finally, they could present and reciprocally exchange practices, educational tools and games through dedicated game sessions and game showcases.

Me&You&Everyone We Know

Codici presented the set of cards Me&You&Everyone We Know, resulting from participatory research within the homonymous European project. The cards consist of images – illustrated by Arianna Vairo – (characters, landscape, emotional and relational keyword cards), words (definitions and common sense cards) and stories designed to stimulate educational conversations on violence in intimate relationships. During the workshops, Codici usually starts from the stories: their open endings allow one to explore different scenarios and reflect comprehensively on their meaning. Then, we ask participants to work in randomly small groups to examine a character’s point of view, thoughts, and emotions and imagine the story’s continuation. Ultimately, we ask each group member to play the character’s role in an improvised simulation to create a collective experiment of observation, analysis and reflection. The cards can be used in many and very different ways. For example, thanks to the flexibility of the possible combinations, the tool can adapt to the needs of the playing group, its cultural and generational features and the specific educational aims set by the facilitator.

Trivial Gender

During the event, also María Hernández Castro – a teacher who works in a primary school in France – presented Trivial Gender, a readapted version of the classic Trivial that she personally designed to talk with young people about sex and gender in a light, fun and approachable manner. For her, the main aim of the game is to make people reevaluate the stereotypes and the gender-based role models underlying gender-based violence and to contribute to building a critical view towards the topic.
The variety of educational games and tools on the subject tells us of the need to address gender-based violence and violence in intimate relationships with appropriate tools. Dealing with these topics in an effective and non-pedantic way is indeed not an easy educational task and it needs a complex educational framework. The educational tools and games presented here, in different ways and levels, contribute to creating a safe context where young people (or even adults) can together deconstruct consolidated ideas and stereotypes and prove themselves with a complex and committed way of thinking and self-inquiry. Challenging common sense, instilling doubts, and encouraging and stimulating critical thinking could be the first step to making a cultural change happen.

Shokkin Group Estonia implemented the activity with the support of the SGI network, which is funded by the Estonian National Agency Noorteagentuur under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission.

Date: 4 July 2024
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