How can performance prevent rape?

On-stage performance can help us reimagine what we take for granted. This blog looks at how performance can explore different ways to be a woman or a man, and negotiate relationships that are flexible, fun, and freeing.

I suggest that performance can be used as a tool in rape prevention. I look at how performative methods of rape prevention may build upon and develop other forms of social education that work to end rape, creating possibilites for different ways to engage in intimate relationships.

This blog is a personal, theoretical, and performative exploration of how performance can be used in rape prevention.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Witnessing real violence and minding our own business

What do we do when we witness violence against a stranger? Do we try to not get in the way? Do we let them sort it out themselves? Do we step in and risk our own safety? Is it just another reality performance?

A man was witnessed by the side of the road in Hahdorf, Adelaide, trying to kill his wife through beating her with a large stick several months ago. Today he has asked a local court if he can return to living with her, as he has just been kicked out of his temporary accomodation.

Do we let someone return to live with the person he has recently tried to kill?

The woman's defense has told the court she is happy for her husband to come back home. She is happy to live with her attempted-murderer. Becasue he is also her husband, her lover, and perhaps her friend. But are WE happy with that, as a society?

1. Do we try to protect woman who are beaten by their partners from their own wishes to be with their partners?

2. Do we approach the situation with an awareness of the impacts of intimate partner violence?

3. Do we value the woman's freedom to choose her own way of loving?

To complicate matters, the husband was captured and tortured in Iraq. Our war - we sent him there. But the wife has to deal with the consequences. I can't imagince the physical and emotional pain, and ther downright embarrassment of being beaten up on the side of a highway.

I can't help feeling like this woman, and yes, this man too, are like bottom-feeders. They are gulping up all the garbage of our society.

Do we sit back and watch? Do we take some repsonsiblity for others in our community?

What is the ethical responsibility of the witness?

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