Empowering young people to challenge violence against women and girls

Arts & Education
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A powerful drama production is touring Tameside schools to highlight violence against women and girls and help young people to challenge harmful behaviours.

The initiative, called 'Blind Side', has been jointly commissioned by Tameside Council and GMP as part of the wider work to support to national White Ribbon Day and 16 Days of Action against Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

The production, by Breaking Barriers, involves a 20 minute monologue performance followed by a 30 minute facilitated workshop that allows young people to delve deeper into what VAWG means, how they can be better allies to their peers, how to spot and approach gender imbalances, and where to seek support.

It follows extensive research where Breaking Barriers spent over three months speaking to 1000 young people from primary school age up to college age, in Tameside to hear their lived experiences on VAWG. These conversations were then expertly and anonymously worked into the script by writers Nicola Schofield and Mary Cooper.

The production is supported by a pre-film, which will be watched in classrooms before children see the monologue. It will introduce them to the themes of VAWG and allow them an opportunity to discuss their thoughts in the safety of their classrooms. The production then builds upon their knowledge and gives them in-person discussion opportunities following the performance. 

Tameside Council Executive Member of Population Health Cllr Eleanor Wills said: "Helping to educate and support young people in challenging violence and harassment against women and girls is a huge step in starting to change behaviours now and in future years. I hope the young people come away from the sessions feeling informed, heard and empowered."

Breaking Barriers Director Parvez Qadir said: "We have seen first hand how powerful theatre and discussion can be in sharing a serious message such as VAWG with young people. At Breaking Barriers we tackle this creatively and provide a chance for the young people to watch the story play out in front of them, followed by a structured discussion where they can learn the facts and leave the session knowing how to spot the signs of VAWG and where support is available".

For more information on the White Ribbon campaign see www.whiteribbon.org.uk

Pictured: Cllr Wills with members of the production team and pupils and Denton Community College

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