It’s There To Stay: Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal On The Vagina Monologues - SheThePeople

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It's There To Stay: Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal On The Vagina Monologues - SheThePeopleIt's There To Stay: Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal On The Vagina Monologues - SheThePeoplevagina monologues
"But we continue with the support of our audiences, many of whom come repeatedly and leave us with their own stories in our comment books, and also personally. We have also done 10 shows for women in the past totally free, in collaboration with the NGO SNEHA in Dharavi. A special show was done for 1,200 policewomen[1] at the request of the then police commissioner, Mr Mariah. Many women have narrated life-changing experiences after seeing a performance of the play."

Has Kotwal seen the gender dynamics and the reaction to violence against women change over the years that she's been performing the play? Have things in any way changed for the better?

"The most important issue this play has tackled is that women these days have been openly talking about abuse, whether it is physical, emotional or mental and are trying to seek legal or public protection. The 'vagina' is no longer a 'dirty' word for many, as it should not be… I am told that a group of men now mentor other men to stop this abuse."

The 'vagina' is no longer a 'dirty' word for many, as it should not be… I am told that a group of men now mentor other men to stop this abuse.

The thespian has also started hosting Empathy Meetings since August 2018 to provide a platform for women's life stories to be heard out of empathy and not sympathy. It all started with her putting out a simple Facebook post and a number of women[2] turned up. She informs, "There is no judgement and the stories are not to be shared beyond the four walls of the room we meet. Not everyone has a sorrowful take…we have many who come to empathise. The women tell their stories without fear of being censured. Some stories are also about how senior citizens are being harassed.

It's a wonderful little group. The tag line of this group is SHARE, SUPPORT, SURVIVE. There are no fees or hidden charges. I have received so much support and affection myself, that this was one way I wanted to give back to society, what it has given me in abundance."

Coming back to The Vagina Monologues, the rate at which the play is being accepted and helping victims of assault or violence, Kotwal doesn't see it ending in the near future. She says, "We would like to take this play to high schools and colleges. Only one school had us perform the entire play with Classes 11 and 12 and then we had two days of intensive workshops with those students. We would also like to cover more bastis throughout Bombay.  So, yes. The Vagina Monologues looks like it's there to stay."

References

  1. ^policewomen (www.shethepeople.tv)
  2. ^women (www.shethepeople.tv)
Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal

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