Saturday, November 25, 2017

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. According to UN Women estimates:

  • 750 million women and girls alive today married before their 18th birthday
  • 35% of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence
  • Approximately 120 million girls worldwide have experienced non-consensual sexual intercourse and/or sexual assault

Bond Street Theatre works with women globally who are survivors of abuse, forced marriages, sexual violence, and incarceration. By teaching theatre, we create a platform for women to use their voice to speak out against the violence that they have been subjugated to.

Bond Street Theatre has worked with women all over the world, introducing theatre as a tool to amplify their voices. We have collaborated with women and girls in the US, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Malaysia, and more, and we know that discrimination, harassment, unfair treatment and violence against women are global issues.

Recently, we began a project with members of Malaysia’s  Rohingya community, and in doing so we helped facilitate the creation of the Rohingya Women's Theatre. The five members of the new ensemble were each married by age 15 and had no experience with theatre beyond Bollywood dramas. By using theatre, we were able to offer creative tools to share their stories and promote their rights.

From 2011 to 2014, Bond Street Theatre worked with inmates at a women's prison in Afghanistan, many of whom are survivors of abuse. The program was launched with the support of Dining for Women. We encountered many inmates who have faced systemic violence and a flawed legal system, and offered healing ways to approach problems, learn their legal rights, and develop the communication skills and motivation to speak out for justice. In addition, they learned educational and creative activities to enjoy with their children who were incarcerated with them.

Bond Street Theatre continues to promote an end to violence against women, both through our work with women and girls and, equally importantly, by engaging men and boys to speak out for justice. Through artistic solutions, we aim to change entrenched cultural gender norms present in communities from the US to Afghanistan, and to bring an end to violence against women.

 Members of the Rohingya Women's Theatre and Masakini Theatre perform a play about refugee rights in Malaysia.
Violence against women needs to be eliminated now. Today, we are inspired to continue in our line of work towards a better world, with artistic rigour, cultural sensitivities and diligence. While noting the strides that we have made, we  know that there is so much more work to be done. Today and everyday, Bond Street Theatre joins with our sisters and fellow advocates around the world in saying NO MORE.

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