Under the aegis of host MEP Mr. Francesc Gambús it was organized by the “European Anti-Violence Network” and “The Smile of the Child” the event “The GEAR against IPV approach - Gender Equality Awareness Raising against Intimate Partner Violence: Empowering new generations to build healthy intimate relationships” that was held on 21 November 2017 at the European Parliament.
The aim of the event was to present to Members of the European Parliament the material, methodology, interventions implementation and effectiveness evaluation in five Member States (Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Croatia, Spain) of the GEAR against IPV Approach. In addition, the elements of success for the active engagement and participation of teens and children in their own awareness raising and empowerment were presented. In this framework, invited speakers were representatives of the project’s beneficiaries (teachers and teens) that that participated in the project from the 1st Junior High School of Agios Nikolaos (Crete) and the Home of “Τhe Smile of the Child” in Aigion.
The teacher Ms Maria Karakou from Crete, mentioned that “After two years, all these experiences are still following me and, up to a certain point, define my attitude, not only as a teacher but also as a parent and as a human being” and concluded her speech “I hope that our experience will contribute to highlight the importance of the GEAR against IPV being included to the official high school programme. It should be treated as a very important subject, supported by teachers adequately trained by the European Antiviolence Network”.
Ms Dora Triantafyllopoulou, teacher at the Home of “The Smile of the Child” in Aigion, mentioned: “I was watching, all those gender stereotypes that had been built inside them one by one being deconstructed and I cannot find words to describe my joy when a 9-year-old girl told us that she wanted to join a football team – where she has proved a great talent, by the way! It was a wish she had not expressed before because she was taught to believe that only boys can practice this sport in an organized manner. It is so great to see a child “unlocking” herself this way!”
The teens shared among others the following:
- “Concluding, I think you would be glad to know that I learned how to protect myself and to assert my rights. At the same time, I am helping others towards that same goal.”
- “I can confirm that the programme helped us to recognize what is a healthy relationship and to wish to achieve one, not just for us but for all our peers, thus building an alliance against gender violence.”
Prof. Carol Hagemann – White (University of Osnabrück) emphasized on policy perspectives for violence prevention via empowerment of children to value equality in relationships.
Ms Kiki Petroulaki (President of the BoD of European Anti-Violence Network) and Mr Costas Yannopoulos (President of the BoD of “The Smile of the Child”) expressed their desire all children to have the chance to participate in such programs that contribute to building healthy intimate relationships free from any form of violence.
Read here the testimonies of children.