Lesson Three: What is Gender-based Violence?

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LITTLE STONES is an award-winning documentary which takes viewers on a global journey inside the lives and studios of four women fighting for equality. Directed by EMMY® Award-winning filmmaker Sophia Kruz, the documentary follows the uplifting stories of four women using rap, graffiti, fashion and dance to fight for women’s rights around the world.

Driftseed, a 501c3 nonprofit organization created by the filmmakers, partnered with the University of Michigan School of Education to create a series of lesson plans and arts workshops for high school students based on the Little Stones documentary. The purpose of this classroom initiative is to not only educate future leaders on global violence against women, but also to inspire innovative, collaborative, and non-traditional means of creating social change through the arts.

In LESSON THREE, students explore gender-based violence as a global problem, developing an understanding of its causes, effects, and possible solutions by reading texts, watching videos, and analyzing infographics.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Students will be able to analyze information across texts in order to describe gender-based violence as a global issue and differentiate between its sociocultural, economic, legal, and political aspects.

TAKEAWAYS: Gender-based violence is violence directed against a girl or woman primarily because of her gender; it also includes violence that affects women and girls disproportionately. gender-based violence is an expression of the power inequalities between men and women.

Gender-based violence affects women all over the world from every group of people. That being said, women in developing nations, and women living in poor communities in developed nations, as well as women from racial or ethnic minorities, often have less power than more privileged women and are more at-risk.

Gender-based violence is a complex problem with social, cultural, economic, legal, and political aspects. Generally speaking, it is caused by the interaction of a range of factors at the individual, family, community, and societal levels. At a basic level, it is enabled in patriarchal societies (where men traditionally have more power than women) by the notion that women should be controlled by men.

The effects of gender-based violence also impact people at many levels. There are direct physical and psychological effects on individuals, damage to families and communities, and economic losses that hurt entire societies. It is a far-reaching problem that hurts us all, although obviously women who experience it are hurt the most. Many thousands of women are killed every year across the world in incidents of GBV.

Because GBV is such a complex problem, there is no one single solution. A wide range of actions, policies, and programs can help reduce it. Cultural values that denigrate or objectify women (and these exist worldwide) need to be challenged and replaced with more empowering and healthy notions that recognize the inherent equality of women.

DURATION: 1-3 class periods, Variable, depending upon if you use videos, and how much time you allot for discussion

Want more lessons on the Little Stones film?
Check out more free lessons and resources on Share My Lesson on the Driftseed partner page.