Speak Up and Act
In 2018, I joined the theatre and script development workshop of Zubaan under their project Stepping Stones and Body of Evidence supported by International Development Research Centre and Goethe Institut. The workshop aimed at aiding theatre groups, activists, students and writers to translate the academic work of sexual violence in creative ways to make it more accessible. I spoke of my advocacy work on gender rights and shared my ethnographic journey of writing my monograph, Life and Dignity.
From the workshop emerged Speak Up and Act, a performance piece on sexual violence and impunity. One of the acts in the play drew from my ethnographic essay about a rape survivor in Nagaland. Directed by Lapdiang Syiem and performed by Abigail Nongsiej, the performance focused on the story of Beth, a young girl in Dimapur who was raped by her own father. Beth’s account speaks about the emergence of a culture of impunity that is embedded in the social relationships of Naga society. By locating violence inside the home, my essay had investigated these relationships as well as the processes through which such impunity has become an obstacle for women’s rights and justice.
Photo: Abhishek Vidyarthi Singh