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10 Jun 2022 7:04 PM | Anonymous

Gender-based violence against women and girls globally has become critical in the last decade. Many women experiencing violence in communities around the world are beginning to recognize what situations they are in and demand safety and better living conditions.

Women still struggle to combat cultural practices, religious beliefs and social norms that promote gender-based violence against women such as domestic/intimate partner violence, sexual violence, harmful traditional practices and child marriage.

Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, women around the world experienced a spike in gender-based violence. Following the lock-down rules in many countries in global north and global south, many women were forced to live at home, restricted to staying with abusive spouses, partners and family members.

In countries across Africa, women majorly suffered domestic and sexual violence. Many other women suffered economic violence, psychological abuse and an increase in harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation. Seeking justice for women in this situation was almost impossible because of the restrictions on work and movement. Alternative solutions and interventions were being sought out to support women facing violence.

Photo -- Play on domestic violence and storytelling for women in Nigeria (2021)

During this time, women were only able to get support through theatre, plays of playwrights and play-reading sessions within local communities. In Nigeria for instance, these plays portrayed women going through violence, condemned cultural practices and religious beliefs inconsistent with good conscience and provided options for interventions to women experiencing violence in local communities. The use of plays created a spotlight on the already existing pandemic of gender-based violence against women. Non-governmental organizations, Civil society organizations and Community-based organizations engaged playwrights to produce gender-based violence prevention related content for women in local communities. Due to restrictions on movement, taking these plays to local communities became a powerful tool for women experiencing violence to find their voices and decide to seek justice for themselves. During these plays and play-readings, members of the media, law enforcement agencies, lawyers, doctors and social workers were invited to provide immediate response to women facing violence. Women have been empowered by these plays to find their place in society and speak against stakeholders, government agencies, traditional and religious leaders in their communities who promote violence.

Photo --Play-reading and storytelling of domestic violence in Nigeria (May, 2021)

The use of theatre, plays and play-readings has evolved to empowering local communities as a method of community engagement with community members, stakeholders and leaders to educate them on prevention and response techniques to gender-based violence for women and girls of all ages. The heat of the COVID-19 pandemic is over and as communities globally continue to find normalcy in their daily activities, theatre, plays and play-reading have found a permanent place in providing support for women and girls facing gender-based violence.

Wuraoluwa Soibi Ayodele


  • 22 Jun 2022 12:58 PM | Donna Gordon
    I live along the Mexican border, in San Diego where the sex trade thrives
    I have written 3 plays about it. They are on NPX. Keep up your great work.
    Link  •  Reply

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