Anguished actor requests crowd to debate rape

After a show of Mouna, theatre group Sarvasva engages the audience in a dialogue about sex crimes

Published: 22nd July 2014 08:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2014 08:07 AM   |  A+A-

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BANGALORE: While rallies by parents and citizens were taking place across the city on Saturday, members of theatre troupe Sarvasva decided to express their outrage over the recent rape incidents in their own way. They decided to perform their Kannada play Mouna at K H Kalasoudha on Saturday, sporting black ribbons on their upper arms.

"People have been protesting," said theatre and small screen actor Jayalaxmi Patil, requesting the audience to stay on for five minutes after the performance ended.

"Not all of us can participate in them. So we, from Sarvasva, decided that we'd show our outrage this way," she added.

She went on to advise the gathering that change has to begin from home.

"We're all very protective about our girls; we lookout for them at all times and ensure that they're home every day within a certain time that we deem relatively safe. But when it comes to our boys, we let them wander carefree. Do we ever think that they too are children and can be at risk of abuse? Also, we raise our girls to be responsible adults—we teach them patience, tolerance, not to give into whims and fancies. If we do the same with our boys, perhaps, sexual violence may reduce. I know that people feel that there's no cure to it, but they thought the same about plague too, so we have to do our bit," she said.

Speaking to City Express later, Jayalaxmi expressed, "At the time of the Nirbhaya case, I was like most other women—distressed at the happenings, but unable to do anything."

But this time, she approached M C Nagaraja Somayaji who has directed Mouna, on the afternoon of the show, asking if they could do something then.

"I didn't have a lot of time to decide. I thought as a human being rather than a director. It didn't hinder our performance in any way—we didn't even have any costume or dialogue-related changes. What better way to give our concern a platform?" Somayaji said.

This apart, Jayalaxmi has been organising meetings with an open invitation to anyone concerned about the issue to discuss how the laws can be changed.

"The punishment for committing such a crime should be one that scares potential offenders. People are suggesting hanging, but according to me, death is too tame a punishment. A rapist should suffer the same intensity of pain that he inflicts on the victim," she says, adding that she and others who are part of these dialogues aren't yet clear about what the ideal punishment should be yet.

Maybe, it is a debate without any clear answers yet but it is heartening that the questions are out in the open. And more and more poeple are engaging with it.

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