When people from marginalized social groups learn about the root causes, forms and effects of abuse and discrimination they are most likely to experience, their vulnerability is decreased. When they gain access to accurate information about the history, culture and achievements – individual and collective – of the social group (or groups) with which they identify, they gain an important source of strength.

We can provide realistic, concrete and age-appropriate information about individual and systemic abuse and discrimination to students from all grade levels. Students with greater vulnerability to specific forms of inequity will benefit from having an increased ability to identify and resist it. Students who identify with more dominant social groups can increase their awareness and begin the lifelong process of taking responsibility and contributing to positive change.

  • participated in a workshop about sexual abuse prevention offered separately to the girls and boys in her class. The facilitators talked about sexual assault against women and helped the students to form and agree upon a definition that included both subtle and explicit ways of forcing someone into having sexual contact against their will. They talked about sexual assault by a known aggressor, stressing that this kind of assault is most common. Dima is beginning to realize that she is being forced into non-consensual sexual relations with her boyfriend.
  • In class, the teacher started a new lesson about different kinds of family organization and models among humans. He initiated a classroom activity to raise the issue of diversity in human society and to encourage students to question their assumptions. He brought in a collection of photos of different adults and children together. Among them was a picture of two women with a baby and the class talked about who the people might be. Together, the class discussed the prevalent assumption that the two women could not be the baby’s mothers. Michael is starting to feel stronger about the fact that his family is different and he is the only student with two moms. He is beginning to believe that the boys who are making fun of him are the ones with a problem, not him and his family.
  • teacher has just finished a section about the American civil rights movement in the 60’s. She spent a whole class talking about the different black leaders who played a key role in bringing about change during this period of American history. She then asked all the students in their class to do a project about black Canadian leaders in the movement for human rights in Canada. Janine has devoted hours to her project and read everything she could find on the internet. She is fascinated by what she is reading about black women who were leaders in Canada. She has never felt so excited about a school project. She is beginning to think about taking an elective class on international politics next term.