Gender Matters - Manual on Gender based Violence Affecting Young People
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Summary of activities

What to do[16]

“Should I stay or should I go?”


Level 2

Group size

6 to 30


60 minutes


This activity uses differences in opinion in the group about how to approach common dilemmas in relation to sex and sexuality and relationships that young people find themselves in during early and late adolescence. Its aim is to develop the participants’ understanding of the many alternatives that exist for solving perceived problems satisfactorily.


  • To identify common sex, sexuality, violence and relationship related dilemmas faced by young people as they become autonomous individuals
  • To discuss and explore different approaches to dealing with these dilemmas
  • To develop empathy with young people facing difficult situations and decisions


  • The dilemmas on a piece of paper for reading by the facilitator
  • A large enclosed working space with four corners


Familiarise yourself with the dilemmas

Prepare the room and the corners with A, B, C and Open corner signs


Ask participants to stand in the middle of the room and tell them they have to take a stand on the presented dilemma by choosing a corner of the room according to their liking. The dilemma is read out and the alternative corners are introduced. When everyone has selected a corner and gone there, let the participants debate among themselves for a while. Participants from each corner should then be asked to give some reasons why they chose to stand there. Repeat the action for each of the dilemmas you choose to present.

Debriefing and evaluation

Ask everyone to sit in a circle. Initiate the discussion by asking participants how they felt during the exercise, whether they liked it, or disliked it or if they were surprised by any of the comments raised by other participants. Ask participants if they were able to empathise with any of the characters in the cases read out.

Continue the discussion on the subject of dilemmas young people have relating to their sexuality, sex, violence and relationships, using the following guide questions:

  • Do you consider these dilemmas representative of those faced by ordinary young people today?
  • How do you think young people make their decisions when faced with such a dilemma?
  • What effects can being faced with such a dilemma have on a young person’s life?
  • When you have a dilemma (big or small), how do you go about resolving it?
  • Where can young people faced with such dilemmas get support from if they need it?
  • What are the rights of young people in your country when it comes to sexual and reproductive rights?
  • Who should decide the rights of young people in relation to sex?

Tips for facilitators

You can adapt the dilemmas to suit the group you are working with by changing the sex, age, sexuality, nationality or other characteristics of the persons described, or by changing the scenarios. Just remember that it is not always possible to know ‘who is in the room’ and that you should avoid using the personal stories of participants.

Suggestions for follow-up

Explore the activity ‘Look who’s coming to dinner!’, to broaden the perspective of participants on relationship dilemmas and the influence that the opinions of significant other people can have on the relationship choices and self-determination of young people, p. 88, The Education Pack[17] .

Ideas for action

Find out if any form of support (counselling, anonymous help-line, etc) exists for dealing with dilemmas the group encounter in your local area. If not, consider if the participants of your group or organisation (alone or in partnership) could initiate a project to provide relevant peer assistance services.


Jenny’s dilemma

Jenny is 15. The coolest guy in the school asks her home after the disco. They don’t know each other. His parents are not at home. What should Jenny do?

1. Say no

2. Say yes

3. Say yes on the condition that they are accompanied by some friends

4. Something else (Open corner)

Ranja’s dilemma

Ranja is 14 and is in love. Her boyfriend feels the same way. They have been together for two months, but Ranja’s parents don’t know about it and she is sure they would forbid them to continue seeing each other. What should Ranja do?

1. Stop seeing the person she is in love with

2. Take him home and present him to her parents

3. Continue to meet him in secret

4. Something else (Open corner)

Barry’s dilemma

Barry is 16. He is gay but no one in his family or circle of friends knows yet. He likes a boy in his class and would like to have a relationship with him. However he is not sure if the boy will be open to his proposal, he is worried that the boy might tell other people in the class and also that his parents might find out. What should Barry do?

1. Drop the whole idea and forget about the boy

2. Tell his parents and friends that he is gay, and ask the boy out on a date and just see what happens

3. Try to get to know the guy better to check if he has similar feelings before revealing his own

4. Something else (Open Corner)

Nasrine and Eddie’s dilemma

Nasrine and Eddie are 18 and 19 respectively. They have been together for more than a year. They just found out that Nasrine is pregnant. They were not planning on having kids but had been thinking about getting married. Nasrine wants to tell her parents. Eddie is sure they will not approve and might even try to break them up. They don’t know what to do, because Nasrine is still finishing school. What should Nasrine and Eddie do?

1. Go to a counsellor for advice

2. Get married quickly and secretly and then announce the pregnancy to Nasrine’s parents

3. Tell Nasrine’s parents and ask for their support in planning the next steps

4. Something else (Open corner)

Ingrid’s dilemma

Ingrid and Shane are both 17. They have been going out together for 2 years. One night they are out at a disco and Shane gets drunk. Ingrid decides to go to another disco without Shane and he gets very angry, starts shouting at her and pushes her to the ground. What should Ingrid do?

1. Stay with Shane for the rest of the night and forget what happened

2. Leave the disco without Shane and tell her friends what just happened

3. Start hitting him back until Shane stops shouting

4. Something else (Open corner)

[16]Adapted from “Bella - Grus och Glitter 2”, KSAN/Kvinnoorgaisationernas Samarbestrad i Alkohol – och Narkotikafragor och Katrin Byreus, 2001. English version, entitled ‘Rubble and Roses – A practical guide for girls’ groups’ by Katrin Byreus Hagen, available from the Women’s Organisations’ Committee on Alcohol and Drug Issues (WOCAD).

[17] Education Pack can be accessed online at