Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls

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Thank you to all who participated in this week’s visit to European Parliament as part of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) FEMM Committee launch for Elimination of Violence Against Women & Girls 16 days of action.

Myself and Lisa at Changing Relations have been working towards this event organised by Julie Ward MEP and the FEMM committee for almost an entire year and following the success of our UK preview last Saturday (14th Nov) this week, we took the play ‘Make do and Mend’ produced by The Women’s Voices project and presented live performance theatre in European Parliament.

Alongside a plethora or work ad project manager I have been working with many survivors of Domestic abuse who have highlighted the need and want for their voices to be shared and listened to. Changing Relations aim is to be able to use the women’s voices project as a platform for changing attitudes that stereotypically veer towards asking DA victims questions such as ‘why didn’t you leave’ to ‘how can I help you’. Our play presents the stories of three real life women told through the raw medium of verbatim theatre (Written and directed by Rachel Adamson.

Our aim is to empower people to recognise what Domestic Abuse really is; not always physical & or sexual violence, in line with forthcoming  new law, that will recognise and criminalize patterns of coercive, controlling and psychologically abusive behavior, including emotional, psychological, financial as well as the threat of physical or sexual violence. Both our audiences in the UK and Brussels unanimously told us that it reflected a true representation of Domestic Abuse, that it was helpful to have seen the performance and that they would recommend it to others.

While I have been overwhelmed by the experiences shared by  women I have met through refuges and grassroots organisations , it is the many women (and men) who have approached me outside of the project that I have felt handed me a responsibility to use this project to take action. Domestic Abuse is not a woman’s problem, it is societies.  We all need to take responsibility in educating ourselves and others on what safe and healthy relationships look like, what Domestic abuse is and how to seek or get help when we recognise that it is happening.

My job is now to fine tune an application for additional funding to support a tour of ‘Make do and Mend’ aiming to start next Spring (2016) starting in the North East. I hope that you will continue to follow our progress and share our successes so far.

Thankyou , Pollyanna Turner –Project Manager

 

 

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Make Do and Mend 2015

 

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What a performance. Saturday 14th November saw the realisation of our new production ‘Make do and Mend’ in a preview performance to invited guests at Space Six, in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

After only 9 full days of rehearsal over a two month period, Rachel Adamson (writer/director) and our three performers;Christina Berriman Dawson, Jessica Johnson and Ellie Clarke wowed the audience with their raw and open delivery of a newly devised piece of verbatim theatre titled Make do and Mend.

Right now we are packing up ready to travel to Brussels tomorrow with the cast and Women’s Voices Project team to present our performance Make do and Mend in European Parliament by invite from the FEMM committee and funded by the Socialist and Democratic group. Our performance is part of a wider event held in European parliament on the eve of the International day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

‘Make do and Mend’ is a piece of verbatim theatre portraying the candid stories of three real women brought together to by a love of knitting and invites an audience into their lives to share their different but equally compelling journeys though Domestic Abuse, reflecting on childhood, motherhood and marriage.
The Women’s Voices Project has been working with individuals and organisations for the past 8 months, delivering arts for well being workshops and collecting testimonies from real women across the County Durham and wider north east area, giving a voice to women who have experienced Domestic Abuse. Make do and Mend is the opening chapter in what we hope will be continuing project, expected to tour next Spring 2016.
Thank you to all those who attended on Saturday evening, your comments and feedback are extremely valuable in helping us find a platform to share our work more widely.