Breaking The Silence

  • This activity should come after the previous activity on Stories of Violence.
  • The facilitator should research existing supports in the community where young women may go for help in the event of an experience with relationship violence. The list should include hospitals, clinics and support groups that deal specifically with the issue of gender-based or domestic violence, recommended social workers/psychologists/etc, and any other available resources.
  • It is recommended that the facilitator create handouts listing these resources to distribute at the end of the activity.
  • Flipchart or Board Markers
Time Required: 
One hour
  • To discuss the culture of silence that surrounds violence against women.
  • To reflect on the consequences of this and what individuals can do when they are in an abusive relationship, or when they know someone who is in an abusive relationship.
  1. Divide the girls into two groups. Ask each group to create a role play using one of the following case stories:
    •  A woman is experiencing violence, either in an intimate relationship or in her family and is not able to tell anyone about her experiences. Ask the group to think about what different situations she will have to face to protect herself from this violence.
    • A woman is experiencing violence either in an intimate relationship or in her family and is able to reach out to others for help and support. What are the doubts and concerns she may have in reaching out for help? What challenges do you think she may face in reaching out and seeking support from someone? (Alternatively, one role play can explore the perspective of the person who has been contacted by a woman to address her violent situation. What would be the challenges faced by this person in reaching out to someone who is experiencing violence? How would this person provide support without making the situation more difficult for the woman experiencing the violence?)
  2. Give the groups about 15-20 minutes to develop their stories.
  3. Ask the two groups to present their role plays to the entire group and open up a discussion using the questions below.
  4. Following the role play presentations and discussion, ask the group to name all of the resources that they are aware of for young women who are in an abusive relationship in their community. You can pose the question: ‘If you think your friend is in an abusive relationship and needs help, who, or where would you tell her to turn to for help?’ As girls offer names of resources, write them on the board. The facilitator should also mention places where a young woman can go for help and distribute the handout listing these locations.


Discussion Questions: 
  • Are these situations realistic? 
  • Which of these case scenarios did you relate with more? Why and why not?
  • What are the similarities and differences between the two case scenarios?
  • When women and girls are in such a violent situation, do they usually reach out for help? If yes, why, and if not, why not?
  • Why do you think at times we do not want to speak about the violence in our lives?
  • Why would someone remain in an abusive relationship? Are these reasons different for young women and adult women? What is the link between abuse and economic dependence?
  • Do you think men who experience violence are also affected by the same culture of silence and face similar circumstances in reaching out for help? If yes, why? If no, why not?
  • How would you get to know if a friend or someone you know is suffering from violence? How would you feel when you find out that this person you are close to is suffering from violence? Can you reach out and help/support if you are worried about a friend? How can you support a friend who has suffered from violence or aggression?
  • What steps could someone who is in a violent relationship take to keep herself safe?
  • What steps can a friend or someone else take to be helpful to someone who is in a violent relationship?