Abstract for: Causal loop building of the perceptions of violence and opportunities for safe spaces among adolescents in rural Colombia

In a rural Colombian community, the recent boom in tourism, the sudden influx of Venezuelan refugees and the construction of a bridge, has had significant economic, health and political impacts on the region. However, less is known about how the resulting intersecting experiences with gentrification, poverty and inequality, and familial connectivity degradation is altering its adolescents’ perceptions of safety and well-being specifically as it relates to experiences with and exposure to violence. Centering the United Nations call for the creation of safe spaces for adolescents globally, this study critically analyses the linkages between violence victimization risk, and the perceptions of personal and public spaces. Qualitative analysis is used to critically analyze the factors that define a safe space from violence victimization for adolescents in a rural Colombian community. Gender segregated focus group discussions with 40 adolescents were held within the community. Thematic analysis was used, and causal loops were drawn to identify the dynamics of masculinity norms, history of conflict, parental distress, poverty, exclusion and acts of violence. A gender-based intervention was proposed to balance the actual reinforcing loop that is growing towards catastrophic consequences.