On April 12, participants from The Police Academy against Violence against Women project performed three short forum-theater plays on the topic of violence against women and law enforcement agencies’ responses to this issue. This project began in February and aimed to increase the sensitivity of young people about gender discrimination. Ten students from the Police Academy and five representatives from domestic violence crisis centers participated in the project.
Forum-theater is a method of an interactive work among different groups of the society aimed at solving social problems. The essence of the methodology is a joint search for a solution from a difficult life situation within the framework of the proposed performance between with actors and spectators. Such an interactive platform allows everyone to express their opinion and learn about the discrimination against women in society.
The participants learned about the forum-theater technique over the course of the first two months of the project, helping them to consider problems concerning violence against women from different points of view. The participants worked together to design three performances, which were about domestic violence and its impact on children, bride kidnapping, and victim-blaming.
The forum-theater approach requires audience participation and promotes the frank exchange of different views. Spectators suggesting alternative decisions and actions for the actors on stage, explaining their suggestion and the logic behind it. Some students did not see the problem of discrimination and violence against women, creating an interesting discussion.
Representatives of crisis centers and organizations working in the field of domestic violence also attended the performances as spectators. This meant they too were able to propose their solutions to the scenes portrayed in the plays.
“Honestly, I had not performed on stage before, but now, having done the performances, I can freely express my thoughts and ideas and I can enter into any role. This is very cool!” - commented Salamat Emilbekov, a project participant and student at the Police Academy.