As a feminist theatre company, one of the main topics we chose to focus on during our process was the act of sexual assault and rape.
To type, write or say the word seems too dark, too sharp. Part of me wants to change the word to something less daunting, but I'll refrain from doing so due to the fact that society likes to ignore that rape is an issue. No one likes to hear the word 'rape', because as much as it's a subject that needs to be discussed, it's also something that people do not want to believe happens on a daily basis.
When researching, we found that one in four women will be sexually assaulted and we came to a sudden realisation, there are four of us Banshees. To look around our group of strong, powerful women and to wonder which of us would be the unlucky one made us angry. It filled us with rage and by doing that gave us the motivation to push ourselves to create a performance that will not only educate others on the subject but will force them to listen, to not tiptoe around it.
Photography taken by Tim Drew
We began by researching, we found that documentary's such as 'The Hunting Ground' gave us a lot of insight into the twisted world of sexual assault in American universities and allowed us to delve deeper into how victims of rape are usually ignored and blamed for what happened to them. However, what interested us the most came from talking to friends and family about their experiences with sexual assault. We found that the perpetrators from the autobiographical stories we had heard were not strangers who drag women down dark alleys, they were actually friends, partners and family members. They were people who were trusted, they were people who betrayed that trust. We took these autobiographical stories and turned them into text and movement, focusing on the gestures that were used when stating their verbatim.
A lot of the time we found it very powerful to repeat those gestures throughout our piece. The stories that we had heard needed to be put out into the world, we owe it to victims to sexual assault to do so. As a company, we felt like our audience needed educating on the subject in an honest and unapologetic way, so that is what we did. We will not turn a blind eye to rape and sexual assault any longer, it needs to be discussed and it needs to be stopped.
By Rachel Drayton.
Love, Banshee. x