Strengthening participatory practice with children and young people affected by sexual violence

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How to discuss sexuality, sexual abuse and violence with young people

Posted: Tue Feb, 2017

Author: Kate D'Arcy

This blog post was originally published on the University of Bedfordshire’s International Centre Blog.

Addressing this is one of the goals of the LEAP Community of Practice on participation, youth and sexual violence. It is for this reason that we hosted a webinar on ‘discussing sexuality with young people’.

The aims were to:

  • Recognise that an enabling factor for participation is our ability to discuss sexuality with young people.
  • Enhance understanding how to discuss sexuality with young people.
  • Learn from young people.
  • Share good practices.

What young people in the Netherlands said about building a relationship

  • Don’t force me to talk.
  • Don’t act as if you have more power.
  • Don’t assume.
  • Don’t put the blame on me.

What young people in the Netherlands said about conversations

  • I need to trust the person.
  • It’s important to be available, to build a connection.
  • Be human!
  • Share some of your own experiences. This makes me realize I’m not crazy.
  • The setting/environment needs to feel safe and be young person friendly (not an office).
  • Take me for a walk.
  • I’d prefer not to have to look the other person straight in the eye.
  • Let me do something creative, for example draw.
  • Meet me in my space , or a space I have chosen

What young people say about specific questions

Don’t:

  • Ask me ‘Why did you do this? Why didn’t you just kick him out?’
  • Ask me to give details

Do ask:

  • Do you know what you like and what you don’t? How do you deal with that?
  • Did you ever go too far? How did you feel?
  • Do you dare say no? How do you do that?
  • Did something happen in the past (which you haven’t had the courage to talk about yet)?
  • Can you tell me what happened?
  • Do you ever feel like it’s your own fault, that you’re to blame?

What young people say would be good outcomes

  • Space, understanding, respect, support, interest.
  • (Steps towards) a solution.
  • Enhancing my understanding about the situation and what role I can play to change things.
  • Clear explanation about the follow up (e.g. treatment possibilities).

 

The full webinar is available via Childhub. Organizers: Stichting Alexander (Netherlands) and Terre des Hommes, Regional Office for South Eastern Europe.

Stichting Alexander is LEAP’s Dutch partner – an NGO specializing in youth participation and participatory action research. Ivet has been working in the field of international child and youth development for over 17 years, with a strong focus on participatory approaches. In recent years she has worked mostly on themes of youth care, experienced experts and child abuse.