A roomful of teenage boys sit in rapt attention as an instructor gestures widely to emphasize the importance of recognizing and validating emotions. The boys then begin to eagerly share their stories, laughing and nodding along while listening to each other. Teenage engagement of this kind may seem out of the ordinary, but it is commonplace in CRP’s Teen Gender-Based-Violence Awareness Group.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a general term that refers to any non-consensual action that happens to an individual based on a power imbalances with another individual. Examples include assault, domestic violence, exploitation, and harassment. CRP holds separate GBV discussion groups for men, women, and teenage boys. These spaces allow participants to identify difficult topics, share their own stories, and discuss solutions collaboratively.

“I learned a lot about changing my way of looking at things. I was just thinking about being angry and just being aggressive, so I started to take this class. The teacher is very nice, and he just gives ideas that are very useful,” says 17-year-old Kareem.

Kareem came to Jordan from Iraq a year and six months ago. He has been taking classes at CRP for eight months. After initially enrolling in English classes and enjoying them, Kareem decided to pursue the Teen’s GBV class.

Methods for self-care and supporting others are also central topics in all of the GBV groups. Kareem and his classmates were learning about how processing emotions could improve their experiences in hectic public spaces, like restaurants. As the boys shared stories of social outings that had been hurtful or negative, the instructor listened carefully and murmured words of encouragement.

Kareem (right) and a classmate in Teen’s GBV Group.

In times of trauma, women are disproportionately affected by gender-based-violence. CRP’s GBV programs aim to empower women by promoting awareness of the emotional abuse, sexual violence, and exploitation that they too often face. By offering GBV groups specifically for men and teenage boys, CRP works to prevent further instances of gender-based violence towards women through community building and education. These groups provide men and teenage boys with spaces to discuss experiences that are otherwise difficult to articulate and tools to process these experiences in a supportive environment.

“My favorite part is when the teacher makes us talk about our stories, and what we did do and what we are supposed to do, so that in the future, we won’t make the same mistake twice. The teacher shows how to say the right ideas,” Kareem remarked.

Special thanks to FAWCO for supporting this program!