Meeting four, your own body & abuse

Intense week. Masturbation and abuse.

Evaluating this week Marieke and I agree on this being the most interesting meeting up to now. Because of the sensitive topic we include a lot of activities in this weeks program.
We start with a ten minute meditation session. This is a whole new experience for the girls, obviously. We let them lay down on the floor and slowly we help them (this is actually how one of the girls described her first meditation session) 'talk-travel through their own body'. It's a good tool for them to become more aware of their own body parts.

After explaining the girls exploring your own body is nothing to be ashamed of, we want them to actually think about this statement. It's one thing to listen, nodd and smile at us, but of course we want a little more than that. So we give them a worksheet with the counterlines of the human body. With a green pencil we let them highlight the bodyparts they like to touch. This is a private activity, something for the individual only, so we don't dicuss this any further. On the second, same, worksheet we ask them to highlight, in red, those body parts where they don't want other people to touch them.
Even tough the girls are motivated, not all of them participate on the level we would like them to. So every now and then we try to get them out of their comfort zone (you know, their smiling, nodding and polite attitude).
So this time, after the red highlighting assignment, we transform from teacher to 'asaulter'. We sit ourselves down way too close to one of the girls. Or pretend to be in a grocery store passing by and touching their waistline. Or in the jeepny, being one of the many unknown commuters, caressing their face. Clearly all very uncomfortable situations. They get it.

We go on. We define abuse and emphasize on how important it is to listen to your own body. Does it give you any signals when you're in a situation you don't want to be in? We tell them how important it is to give someone your consent before that person starts touching you. Boyfriend, husband or stranger.
We give them true or false cards and play a game together: which statement about abuse is true, which one is false.

Again, not all of them take part. Not enough that is. Constantly we try to include all the girls. But like in every other classroom there're shy girls, there're restless girls, eager girls, troubled girls, keen girls, dedicated girls and just plain adorable girls.

In two groups we observe changes in some students behaviour while talking about abuse. There are in fact two girls who are having a hard time. Teary eyes, very nervous, extremely uncomfortable, fear in their eyes almost. We take a break when we see this. While the class collectively runs to the comfort room (restroom) one of us approaches the girl to find out what's wrong. Of course this setting is not one to reveale your deepest worries or fears. Besides, the girls probably do not trust us enough yet for this kind of personal talk. Besides 2, we are obviously cluesless about what could be wrong with the girl. Could be something huge, could be not at all this big of a deal.
So, we ask her if she feels okay with continuing the class. Whenever she feels uneasy, she may of course leave the room or quit the activities. This helps and both girls stay in class.
After the meeting we let them know that we're always around when/if they want to talk or share.

In our weekly meeting with the staff we inform them about our observations. We feel we are always way more professional and serious about our program than our fellow teachers. Most of the teachers really appreciate us doing this, but some seem a bit sceptical. That's okay, we realize that we're doing something totally out of the ordinairy here.
Regarding these two girls fortunately the teachers are involved. We discuss both situations, both girls, and they promise to keep an extra eye on them. And so will we.

Now, Thursday night, we are extremely tired (superwomen, yes, but still just human we are hihi). Tomorrow we prepare next weeks meeting: Family planning.

Comments 1

Thea 13-02-2014 14:47

Good work again!!!!!!!x Thea

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