We decided not to give a set of strict rules to play but instead, we identified five educational functions that can be performed with the cards and that can be combined to develop workshops about violence in intimate relationships, both with teenagers and adults.
This would allow for a deep flexibility of the tool according to the needs of the group who is playing, its cultural and generational features and the specific educational aims set by the facilitator(s). Alongside the overall frame of each function, we give some suggestions on how it can be used.
This is the primary function the whole pack can perform. The stories in particular are designed to create a fictional scenario within which participants can learn to deal with complex issues in a safe space and to exchange views on their emotions, values and opinions drawing on the experiences of the characters.
The stories can be read in small groups, and few generative questions can be given by the facilitator to help participants frame the discussion. Questions can deal with an array of perspectives: emotions, roles, social expectations and so on.
Naming and framing
The definition cards are designed to help naming and framing effectively the experiences explored with the other cards. They can help participants to locate the group discussion within a wider framework and to compare the lexicon of meanings on violence in intimate relationships created within the group with those elaborated by the institutions.
They can be used by the facilitator to support a debriefing session of the workshop or by the participants themselves to ask for support within a group discussion.
The pack is designed to promote identification with the experiences and emotions lived by the characters, meaning by identification the deep ability to put oneself in the shoes of others and to experience his/her point of view.
The emotional and relational key word cards can be used to explore the feelings and emotions of each character and to compare them with the ones of the participants; while each story can be read picking up the perspective of one of the characters (like the victim, the perpetrator, the family, the teachers et cetera) allowing participants to prove themselves with different viewpoints.
Overall function of the pack is to generate new thoughts and new attitudes toward intimate relationships: in order to overcome stereotypes and role models and to promote freedom, self-determination and mutual respect. All the stories are open ended, meaning that they can be re-written adding new characters and/or changing the characters’ choices and behaviors.
The character cards as well as the landscape ones can be used to create brand new stories, drawing upon the creativity of the participants; participants can also create their own new card to add what they think is missing in the pack in terms of definitions, key words, characters, common sense statements or landscapes.
The pack is also designed to help participants understanding how socio-cultural models of gender, sexuality and relationship shape individual behaviors and deconstructing stereotypes and prejudices. The common sense cards are explicitly designed for this function: they question statements of common sense that lie behind belief and behaviors about identities and relationships – like differentiated expectations on boys and girls – and can be used to open up a second layer discussion.
They can be used alone as generative stimulus, or they can be integrated in the process of reading, discussing and deconstructing the stories.