Let's Talk About Power in Relationships
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2017 was a year of upheaval. Children and women are the most likely victims of harassment, assault and rape. Our society is now watching women with a public platform give voice to the ways in which nearly all women experience some degree of sexual violence over the course of their lives. And men are learning about the impact of their behavior on the women in their lives. However, we have yet to approach this topic with both compassion and curiosity across the gender divide. This conversation offers an opportunity to do just that. It is for people who are looking for ways to move forward — in partnership.
Let's Get Started!
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
What are your thoughts on Let's Talk About Power in Relationships? (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. The group may choose to have everyone answer: A) whichever question speaks to them individually or B) the same question with an option to pass. Once everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for any clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring with other topic or related questions as time allows.
- How do you know you are respected?
- How do we treat boys and men differently from girls and women?
- How do power and status impact seduction and dating?
- What should the signals be from women? From men?
- How are power dynamics expressed in relationships? at home? at work?
- What makes for a healthy exchange of power between any two people?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?