In a society lacking sex education, young women (and men) learn about the changes their bodies go through, their sexuality, relationships, sex and violence in relationships all on their own, with their peers, online or from magazines. Information is seemingly abundant, however, much of it is false In a myriad of Tik tok videos, Instagram posts and porn sites – which often strengthen rigid gender roles, impose unrealistic beauty standards and standards for relationships and sex, therefore normalizing violent behavior – young women are left to their own devices to discover what is true or false, and what is toxic or not.
For the last couple of years, the Autonomous Women’s Centre has been intensely working on a program aimed at preventing violence against women in youth partner relationships, through direct work with young people and high school staff. Using a peer approach means that young women themselves participate in both the development and implementation of the program, and in this way, they pass on knowledge to each other about how to recognize and resist different types of violence, whether it happens to them or to the girls in their environment. With female peer educators as workshop facilitators, young people feel freer to talk about their experiences as a safe space is created where there are no taboos.
Young women, peer educators, participate in this short movie "I Can Say No" and talk about how they see youth partner relationships, what they got for themselves through the process of becoming a peer educator, as well as why women's solidarity is important to them.