Violence and bullying: it's hard to admit that almost all of us have experienced it

Do you think that violence and bullying aren’t relevant to you? Let's stop here! We want to invite you to discover what students from Vilnius University (VU) Mathematics and Informatics (MIF) have learned in the international project Creative Emotional Journey.

2023 03 02 Justina880x586

MIF International Studies Coordinator J. Krauledaitė at an event in Vilnius | J. Auškelis photo

"First of all, it's hard to admit that almost all of us have experienced this, both directly and indirectly," says Augustina Petraitytė, a MIF student who participated in the project. Bullying and violence separate two poles: the strong and the weak. According to Ms. Petraitytė, the latter is not valued in society, so we often choose to ignore certain expressions of bullying and violence to maintain our value in society.

Anastasija Volkova adds: "For many, it is difficult not only to notice but also to acknowledge that there is a lot of violence and bullying in our environment. Perhaps there is a lack of tools and knowledge to recognize what is violence, what is bullying?"

Creative Emotional Journey: from an idea to a European recognition

Justina Krauledaitė, MIF's International Studies Coordinator, has been involved for two years in the Creative Emotional Journey project, which focuses on gender-based violence and bullying, and has involved other members of MIF's community. This is an Erasmus+ Key Action2 type project where partners from 4 countries (Spain, Italy, France, Greece) developed an educational methodology, a manual, and a selection of non-formal education tools on the topics of bullying and gender-based violence for youth workers and professionals who work with young people. Throughout the project, 75 participants from all five countries took part in a pilot training followed by a youth exchange in Italy with 25 young people.

2023 03 02 Kurybine emocine kelione1 880x586

Moments from the event in Vilnius | J. Auškelis photo

According to Ms. Krauledaitė, although the project has now ended, the partners are keen to continue their cooperation and are considering taking the project to a larger scale in the future, not only in Europe but also abroad.

The Creative Emotional Journey project is special because the methodologies developed are applicable in practice, the methodologies are available free of charge, and the methodologies are clearly understood and tested by people from different countries and cultures.

2023 03 02 Kurybine emocine kelione2 880x660

Creative Emotional Journey team meeting in France | Photo from the personal archive

Easier expressions of violence and bullying are the result of a normalised society

"Usually, topics about violence and bullying do not come up in natural conversations and are difficult to talk about, so when I heard the name of the project and the topics covered, I was curious about how to talk about such difficult topics in a different way from the usual way," says Ms. Petraitytė, the reason why she joined the Creative Emotional Journey project. She says that being part of the project has opened her eyes to the fact that these topics are very close to all of us - much closer than we think - and that some of the milder expressions of violence and bullying are normalised by society.

2023 03 02 Kurybine emocine kelione3 880x660

Creative Emotional Journey team meeting in France | Photo from the personal archive

Another participant, A. Volkova, noted that the term "bullying" itself is probably already a nuisance at school: "There are many projects and thematic lessons on this topic, and it becomes a kind of mystical phenomenon that doesn't seem to happen. However, bullying is a very real phenomenon, but perhaps sometimes there is a lack of more realistic examples of what people face, of tools to recognise violence and bullying, and of education on these topics." She points out that it is important to teach not only how to deal with the consequences, but also how to prevent them, starting at school. For example, a popular example is when boys grab girls by the scrubs and advise them not to tie them. It should be the other way around, talking to the abuser about the act itself and the consequences it creates.

Watching and doing nothing – as well as getting involved

Augustina and Anastasija, participants in the “Creative Emotional Journey” project, are unanimous in their belief that the topics of violence and bullying, no matter how much we may not want to admit it, are connected to each one of us. "During the project, I had the opportunity to learn about the different roots of violence and bullying and how it affects many different groups of people. At the same time, I also heard other participants' personal experiences, which gives me an even different, closer insight into the topic, a feeling for it, because it makes everything much closer, it doesn't just remain as something you've read or heard."

2023 03 02 Kurybine emocine kelione4 880x662

Project participants Justina, Anastasija, Augustina, and Normantas in Italy | Photo from personal archive

"In my opinion, it is harder to spot people affected by violence and bullying in academia. However, we are older and more used to hiding our emotions. And when we arrive in a new environment we want to make a new life. So if we don't analyse our friends' behaviour and the problems they face, we won't notice whether they are being bullied or abused or not," says Petraitytė. When it comes to the signs that can help us assess this, she says, the main ones would be an apparent distrust and frustration with other people, a marked reluctance to violate personal boundaries, and a marked uncomfortableness in the face of this. The participant stresses that if these signs are observed, it is not possible to say with certainty that the person is experiencing violence and bullying.

2023 03 02 Kurybine emocine kelione5 880x660

Creative Emotional Journey team meeting in France | Photo from the personal archive

The Creative Emotional Journey methodology opens up avenues to start the conversation. According to Augustine, even though it is very difficult to have a conversation, we have many different unconventional ways to make it easier. "The main thing we can and should do is to be interested in the topic and talk about it. Observing violence or bullying and doing nothing about it is also engaging with the abuser. Even if you can't help directly, there are always other ways to help, so the circle is closed - we need to be interested and talk about it so that we can do it," adds Anastasija.

The final events of the project – a new stage in its action

Members of the Creative Emotional Journey team in Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Lithuania were invited to the final events of the project, which included not only a presentation of the methodology but also guest speakers.

2023 03 02 Kurybine emocine kelione6 880x586

Moments from the event in Vilnius | J. Auškelis photo

In Vilnius, the event brought participants under the vaults of Vilnius University to listen to Justina Krauledaitė's presentation "How do creative solutions help overcome emotional challenges?" Dovilė Masalskienė from the Women's Information Centre presented the situation of domestic violence in Lithuania, initiatives, and organisations that can be contacted for help. Inga Abramavičienė, a psychologist from the VU Community, told how everyone can help themselves and their loved ones to discover their inner problems. After the presentations, the participants were invited to a guided tour of the central ensemble of Vilnius University.

Although the content development phase of the project is now over, a new phase awaits it - embedding in organisations.

Find out more about the Creative Emotional Journey and the tools it developed here.


Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies. More information