Discussing Sexual & Gender-based Violence (SGBV) in Role-play Simulations

Global Institutions have agreed that sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a central issue in international politics. Engaging with SGBV is thus an important challenge for scholars of peace and security. In this post Lesley Pruitt shares ideas on creative methods for introducing SGBV in the peace and security classroom via role-play simulations.

Addressing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in international politics is crucial. Although conflict-related SGBV has occurred in many diverse locations, mainstream studies of International Relations have often ignored or marginalised wartime sexualised violence against women. Similarly, SGBV tends to be marginalised in the classroom. This poses challenges to achieving peace by producing graduates and practitioners who are neither knowledgeable about, nor prepared to deal with, SGBV in practice. To explore possibilities for engaging with this challenging topic I reflected on a role-play simulation in a graduate course on International Peacekeeping. Role-play simulations are aimed at imitating real-life situations and have been used as teaching tools in courses dealing with war and conflict to model interactions between opposing groups, as they can help students understand the complexity and difficulty of managing peace operations. In a recent article in Politics I highlight the prospects for educating students around SGBV using role=play simulations as well as the challenges to doing so effectively. In particular I note that while role-play simulations may be useful tools for engaging with such complex topics, learning outcomes will improve if the role-play is introduced after discussing a broader range of relevant literature and debates around gender in general and SGBV in particular. Furthermore, even with prior discussion, teachers may need to prompt reflection and discussion around gender if students do not initiate such conversations themselves. Actions like this may have positive outcomes for gender mainstreaming of the discipline insofar as they better prepare students for future professional roles in peace and security.

Lesley Pruitt

Lesley Pruitt

Dr. Lesley Pruitt is a Lecturer in International Development at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. A Truman Scholar and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Lesley received her PhD in 2010 from the University of Queensland. Afterwards she held a postdoctoral research fellowship at Victoria University, followed by a McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Melbourne. Her current research focus is on recognizing and enhancing youth participation in peacebuilding and promoting gender equity in peace processes.

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