Journey to Be Survivor

“Ending The Game of Domestic Violence”

*Note:  Domestic violence is NOT a game. 

—This game development is in progress—

  • Between 2003-2011, there were 175 homicide-suicide incidents, with 175 perpetrators, 83 adult victims, and 253 child victims, where 98% of homicide-suicides with child victims were perpetrated by adults (mostly parents) and propelled by the perpetrators’ intimate partner problems, mental health problems, and criminal/legal problems. These events are often premeditated, and plans for the violence are sometimes disclosed prior to its occurrence. ( › cdcPDF
    Circumstances Preceding Homicide-Suicides Involving Child Victims – CDC stacks)

The production of this educational experience is in its development stage by the Domestic Violence Support Services Project, in an effort to help victims, families and friends of victims, and community members empower victims on their Journey to Be Survivor, and to break the cycle of domestic violence.

AGES: 0 – 150

OBJECTIVE: To empower and transition victim to survivor to thriver.

PLAYERS (2- ????): Victim (V), Offender (O), Family/Friend/Community Member (FFCM), Officers of the Law (OL), Safety Programs (SP), Survivor (S), Thriver (T)

MATERIALS: Game Board; Pawn base for each player; Stackable victim pieces – 3 stacking pieces for each victim; Stackable survivor pieces – 3 stacking pieces for each survivor; Stackable Offender pieces – 3 stacking pieces for each offender; Stackable Community Member pieces – 3 stacking pieces for each Community Member; Set of Victim Cards; Set of Survivor Cards; Set of Offender Cards; Set of Community Event Cards.

Level One Victim.  A Level One Victim does not realize they are a victim.  This victim may say things like: 

  • It was an accident
  • It was my fault.

Level Two Victim.  A Level Two Victim denies that they are a victim.  This victim may say things like: 

Level Three Victim.  A Level Three Victim does not realize they are a victim.  This victim may say things like: 

Level One Survivor.  This Survivor recites mantras like:

  • It was not my fault.

Level Two Survivor. This Survivor recites Level One mantras, and also mantras like:

  • I did not protect <victim survivors/ survivor victims>
  • I am protecting and empowering <target> and will continue to take action to protect and empower <target>.
  • <Offender> is behaving inappropriately.
  • It is not okay for <offender>  to <offender action>
  • It is okay to be angry at <offender>
  • It is okay to not hate <offender> (being angry with someone’s actions does not mean we hate that someone).
  • Breathe.
  • I am beautiful, intelligent, amazing.

Level Three Survivor. This Survivor recites Level One and Level Two mantras, and also mantras like:

  • What is in my control to prevent future harm to myself and to others?
  • What is beyond my control?
  • What policies and programs are making it difficult for victim survivors and survivor victims to be empowered?
  • What policies and programs are needed to make it possible for victim survivors and survivor victims to move to survivor status?
  • What policies and programs are necessary to maintain survivor status, and reduce the rate of recidivism?

Offenders (bullies, abusers, mockers, taunters, etc), are playing a game, and high level and dangerous offenders are unwilling or unable to refrain from playing the game.  Offenders seek control, and will change tactics to acquire control.  Offenders may seek control because they may have experienced situations that were out of their control.  Without processing through what actually happened, the offender decides they will NEVER be in that situation again.

Level One Offender. Genuinely unaware that what they did was inappropriate; someone just doing what everyone else is doing.  With gentle correction, or someone saying “Hey that’s not cool”, or “Why did you do that?” or “That hurt my feelings”, the offender will stop the inappropriate behavior.

Level Two Offender.  Somewhere between a Level One and Level Three Offender.  The habits of responding inappropriately are habits, because they produce the desired effect (e.g. shouting at someone to be quiet, and they are quiet out of fear of punishment, and not understanding WHY they should be quiet.  The victim will unwittingly NOT be quiet when the offender is not present, and when “caught I’m the act”, it will most likely elevate the ire of the offender to a higher state of frustration and anger.

Level Three Offender.  Deeply entrenched in, and justifying all inappropriate actions, finding themselves and their actions to be infallible.


Movement Sequence.

  • The offender goes first, then play continues in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Each player rolls the dice during their turn and travels that number of spaces, reading the square aloud, and drawing special cards as directed.
  • Each time a player takes a turn, the Victim draws a card from the Victim Cards pile.  Level One victims read their card aloud with each turn.  Level Two victims draw a Victim Card each time any player takes a turn, but they do not read it aloud.  Level Three victims draw two Victim Cards each time a player has a turn, and they do not read the cards aloud.

Movement.  Roll the dice.  Move that number of spaces, read the text that correlates with your roll during your turn:

  1. Listen. Believe. Be kind.
  2. Set and maintain boundaries. Beware of the Drama Triangle.  Do not become the Rescuer.
  3. Teach others about the use of time-aparts, how trauma affects the brain, encourage the use of therapy.
  4. Find a supportive network.
  5. Trust your gut.
  6. Choose humanity, empathy, wisdom.