Updated: Jan 25
1st Day Overview
The, 'SHero Youth Forum for justice and de-normalization of violence' started off in the Thailand Institute of Justice on Saturday 20th October. The Youth forum involved participants of all backgrounds and from all over Thailand. This was the first SHero Youth Forum, providing not only trainings and activities designed to inform and educate participants, but also to provide them with a safe space to discuss and explore ideas in gender, power dynamics, under the overarching theme of understanding Sexual and Gender Based Violence, while developing approaches to eradicating SGBV.
Attending the event were a mixture of high school students, law and social work university students, lawyers, NGO and charity workers and more. Participants were from all over Thailand, from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Sot, Phuket and Nakhon Nayok.
After a short icebreaking activity, with participants introducing both themselves and things that have a symbolic significance to them, there was a lecture from a Chiang Mai Assistant Professor Khun Nong-Yao Nao-Warat, part of CMU’s education faculty and a specialist in Gender. She held a lecture on the ideological foundations of gender and discussed the foundations of male privilege and gender power dynamics,
In the afternoon there was a group activity, “Understanding yourself, understanding others, to understand sexual/gender based violence”. This was led by Khun Punika Apirukkraisri, from the Social Science faculty of Thammasat University. The activity consisted of a life happiness analysis and also included discussions and debates on challenges of access to justice
Then, for the last session of the day, there was a group activity, “Design thinking”, throughout this activity, participants created a matrix on a particular aspect of SGBV. They then identified current and future negatives positives related to that aspect of SGBV. This brainstorming activity is designed to explore and develop challenges to solving a particular issue. Then this is reframed into services, actions and policies that can help solve that particular challenge
On Sunday, participants went to Wat Po Riang community on the outskirts on Bangkok. This community used to have lots of problems with drugs, alcohol, and men would often be violent to women. Yet former addicts and alcoholics became sober and then became community leaders, encouraging others to become sober, renounce violence and create a drug free community. Surrounding the community is reassuring and inspiring pictures and paintings telling locals the benefits of a sober and violent free life. There is also free counseling for victims of domestic violence provided in the community center. The participants were able to see how the community can change by themselves, and did so in a manner that is not reliant on help from the government or from outsiders. Participants got to see the importance of individual change and how it can inspire others. They were able to see the community and speak with the community leaders who made this positive change possible. This was followed by reflection on how there is hope that even in a very troubled or dangerous area, there is still the ability to change, this motivated participants that they could change their community too
Then, participants followed up on the Design Thinking activity from day one. This activity was based around an individual person and their role in violence. Group 1 is DV focused on the abuser, 2 is focused on the victim, 3rd group was violence in workplace and 4th is violence in social media, each group created a prototype character to talk about how to solve these issue, and challenges people faces. Collaboratively, in groups they came up with ideas and creative thinking to make innovative solutions
This is the very first forum for young people to come with open minds and talk about violence issues in society and around them. In one session, participants had to give a score of happiness, which allowed them to reflect on themselves. Many people were not aware they had seen violence from a young age. Yet, when they were reflecting on whether they were they happy from a young age some realized they had seen violence before.
Participants were able to close their wounds by empowering another person, teaching skills to listen to other people and to understand victims of DV, and the need to take part in the empowerment process and network.
Participants came to learn about the structure of gender inequality in Thailand and were able to see that the violence that happens today started 100s of years before us. Violence has been normalized in Thailand If, we promote anti violence, we have to promote equality too, this is because abuse of power is violence, there is a need to understand the structure of violence culture in Thailand. By teaching empathy, sympathy and listening skills and being able to use design thinking techniques we can slowly start to dismantle the entrenched structures of gender inequality and cultures of violence within Thailand. This will not happen overnight, but it started at the SHero Youth Forum
To find more information about the days activities, please follow our Twitter @SheroThailand