Beat­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence

A dance recital aims to spread aware­ness on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and in­spire sur­vivors to take a stand.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By LEE MEI LI en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

AF­TER 14 years of en­dur­ing con­stant abuse from her hus­band who tor­tured and raped her with­out mercy, Sarah left. The sales pro­moter de­cided she’d had enough when her fa­ther-in-law tried to rape too. She es­caped with her three chil­dren and has been on the run ever since.

Fu­ri­ous with her re­quest for a di­vorce, her hus­band, with the help of hired gang­sters, con­tin­ued ha­rass­ing Sarah. Last year, in a vi­o­lent scuffle, he chopped off her left thumb. Even af­ter 23 po­lice re­ports and two IPOs (In­terim Pro­tec­tion Or­ders), Sarah’s case has yet to go to court.

Nev­er­the­less, Sarah wants her story to be told if only to en­cour­age other vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse to get help.

This weekend, Sarah will share her story with the au­di­ence of newage bharathanatyam recital, Lip­stick: Cel­e­brat­ing Wom­an­hood pre­sented by the Tan­jai Ka­malaa Indira Dance School (TKI).

Or­gan­ised in con­junc­tion with In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day,


which falls on March 8, Lip­stick will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre (KL­Pac) on March 1 and 2.

The song and dance en­sem­ble aims to demon­strate the power and beauty of a woman’s love though a se­ries of song and dance reper­toires led by prin­ci­pal dancer Kamini Manikam and her team of tra­di­tional mu­si­cians.

Sarah will be fea­tured in the “Epi­taph Of Bro­ken Vows”, a mono­logue and dance seg­ment fo­cus­ing on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“I may have lost my thumb, but I still have my heart – my spirit is still go­ing strong. What has hap­pened has hap­pened; there’s no use cry­ing over the past. Right now, my pri­or­ity is to earn a liv­ing to sup­port my chil­dren and give them a good ed­u­ca­tion,” says Sarah, 32.

Her agree­ment to ap­pear in Lip­stick stems from her de­sire to in­spire other sur­vivors to never give up hope.

“I re­ally want to share my story with the au­di­ence. Sad­ness should only be for the mo­ment. When some­thing like this breaks you down, never let it break your will. It’s dif­fi­cult, but you have to try aims to demon­strate the power and beauty of a woman’s love through a se­ries of reper­toires led by prin­ci­pal dancer Kamini Manikam and her team of tra­di­tional mu­si­cians. your best to just get up and move on.”

Ac­cord­ing to Kamini, who is also the di­rec­tor, pro­ducer, chore­og­ra­pher and cos­tume de­signer for Lip­stick, the arts is a use­ful medium in cre­at­ing aware­ness about so­cial is­sues like do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“I’ve read about the sto­ries in the news­pa­per; heard about it a lot on the ra­dio. I’ve al­ways won­dered: what is hap­pen­ing to these women? What are we do­ing to help them? I be­lieve that the arts is pow­er­ful enough to bring about the emo­tions needed to spread aware­ness on this is­sue.”

Through Lip­stick, Kamini, 30, hopes to in­stil the mes­sage that do­mes­tic vi­o­lence should never be tol­er­ated. She hopes that Sarah’s story will in­spire other women to speak up if they are faced with a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

“When it comes to re­ports on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, there are times when the whole story doesn’t get told. Some women don’t want to speak up be­cause they are shy or fear for their chil­dren. And then there are also those who are not aware that they are in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship. We wanted a sur­vivor to come on stage to stress the re­al­ity of the sit­u­a­tion. We chose Sarah not be­cause we wanted to por­tray her in a sym­pa­thetic light, but be­cause she is some­one who’s brave and strong and de­spite all odds, she has not given up on life. Through Sarah, we hope that other sur­vivors will be in­spired to take that first step to make a change in their lives.”

Tick­ets are priced at RM105, RM75 and RM55. For more de­tails, call 010-530 6909/03 or go to www.

* Not her real name.

Sarah* will be ap­pear­ing in Kamini Manikam’s (left) recital Lip­stick to lend strength to other do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sur­vivors. I am woman: Lip­stick: Cel­e­brat­ingWo­man­hood

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